From Our Soundbooth | June 27, 2018

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing our 2018 Miller Audio Prize Winners and Honorable Mentions in the categories of Documentary, Prose, Humor and Poetry. We are thrilled to be able to share these wonderful projects with you, along with some words from the artists themselves about their work.

This week, we are so excited to share “sobre la guayaba y la gente gay” by Stefania Gomez, which was selected as the 2018 Miller Audio Prize Winner in Documentary. Our guest judge, Avery Trufelman, had this to say about Gomez’s piece:

“A bold yet subtle story that flirts with the larger politics of desire. This documentary is easy on the ears, with beautiful use of music and recorded conversation, but eventually the sugar coating melts away to release a bitter pill. I find myself thinking about this story often.”

About “sobre la guayaba y la gente gay”:

In 2015, I lived in Havana, Cuba for half a year. While there, I did research and made radio about LGBTQ organizers and their struggle for political representation and against censorship. 

Now paying lip service to gay rights, the Cuban government obscures its profound history of intolerance and violence towards the LGBTQ community. This history includes the Castro regime’s administration of labor/death camps, known as ‘Las UMAP,’ for Cubans suspected of being gay, which were active from November 1965-July 1968. 

While in Havana, I also struggled with my own queer identity in a place where being gay is deeply stigmatized. This piece was produced during that journey, and was originally aired on the podcast Now Here This in 2016. 

Stefania Gomez is a poet, radio producer, and teaching artist from Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in or been broadcasted by WBEZ, The Offing, South Side Weekly, and bluestockings magazine.

Listen to “sobre la guyaba y la genta gay” by Stefania Gomez, here: