Gay life in Havana has expanded noticeably in recent years, although homosexual venues remain subject to police crackdowns. There are no established gay bars or clubs, which are banned, and the gay “scene” revolves around “hangout” street locales and spontaneous private parties. Many venues attract male prostitutes, called pingueros (from the Spanish word pinga, or prick).
Most nights there are gay parties known as divino parties or fiestas de diez pesos at private venues (entrance typically costs 10 pesos, or sometimes CUC1-2). Private parties often feature drag shows. Venues change nightly and are spread by word of mouth. The amphitheater at Parque Lenin is the unlikely venue for a monthly drag show.
To find out where the night’s gay party is, head to the Malecón, opposite Fiat Café near the foot of La Rampa (Calle 23).
Casa Miglis (Calle Lealtad #120 e/ Animas y Lagunas, Centro Habana, tel. 07/863-1486, daily noon-1am) hosts gay parties the last Saturday of each month.
Discoteca Escaleras al Cielo (Zulueta #658 e/ Gloria y Apodaca, Habana Vieja, email@example.com, Fri.-Sat. 10pm-4am) draws an LGBT crowd.
A transvesti show is hosted at the Sociedad Cultural Rosalía de Castro (Av. de Bélgica #504 altos, e/ Máximo Gómez y Dragones, tel. 07/862-3193).
In Vedado, Cabaret Las Vegas (Infanta esq. 25, daily 10pm-4am, CUC2-3) is also popular for its nightly transvestite cabarets.
Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Cuba.