My father left Cuba in June of 1962. The revolution was intensifying and as part of “Operation Peter Pan,” a program developed by the Catholic Church of which the church still denies ever existed, my grandparents placed him on the last Lufthansa flight out of Havana one morning. A young boy, my father wouldn’t see his parents for years to come. He has never returned. After decades, I became the first of my family to return to the island nation and left to my desires, I would have stayed. I’ll get to that in a minute. My father is proud, PROUD, of his homeland in the same way that I am PROUD of being a member of the LGBT community. Pride runs deep with Cubans and with us Verdugos. Over the last several years my father has opened up about the Cuba he once knew more than 50 years ago, and often shares his memories of Camaguey, the town in which he grew up. He spills stories about our cousins, but mostly he speaks of the beauty of this massive island. The crystal waters, the undisturbed beaches, the fishing, the music, and la gente. Our people. I grew up in Miami (aka Little Havana) surrounded by the vibrant and colorful, musical, passionate, sexy cultura of my people. However, something didn’t click for me. My parents divorced when I was two and so I had very little knowledge of my Cuban heritage at home. While soulfully drawn to it, it felt equally foreign. Something was amiss. There was a disconnect.