With a population of just under 75, and a reputation for well-preserved colonial architecture, not cruising, a gay bar seems an improbable niche-filler. Gats Loco is the only bar in the area and they claim to have cold beer. He hands me a cold one and sits down beside me. He says his name is Osmel, but everyone calls him SiSi.
SiSi is an English professor who moonlights at the bar for extra cash. He sharpens his grasp of American "Raul castro homosexual advance" by listening to heavy metal and writing out the lyrics every night when he gets Raul castro homosexual advance. Then he breaks into a wide grin.
I tell him I am not. Nor is the owner. Nor are any of the employees. So, a friend of mine, he opened this place. I think the owner figured it might be good for business. The gambit has already started to pay dividends. As the story goes, when the straight, married mother of three heard about Gats Loco and its rainbow flag, a representative sent word that Mariela would be making an official visit to "sponsor" the bar.
There are other gay bars on the island, but a gay bar willing to work with the regime rather than against "Raul castro homosexual advance" is unusual.
The island is undoubtedly evolving, experiencing its first glimmers of free enterprise in 55 years, but one thing has remained very much the same: In Cuba, the regime is your ultimate customer. LGBT rights have undeniably improved in Cuba over the past odd years. But while there have been some gains, many problems remain.