Cuba | Mariela Castro | News

Cuba Elects First Trans Woman Lawmaker, Adela Hernandez

CubanprideAdela Hernandez made history in Cuba this week after winning a municipal election and becoming the island's first transgendered elected official. And it's quite a turn around from her experience growing up on the communist island:

From ABC News:

Adela Hernandez, a biologically male Cuban who has lived as a female since childhood, served two years in prison in the 1980s for "dangerousness" after her own family denounced her sexuality.

This month she made history by becoming the first known transgender person to hold public office in Cuba, winning election as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara.

In a country where gays were persecuted for decades and sent to grueling work camps in the countryside, Hernandez, 48, hailed her election as yet another milestone in a gradual shift away from macho attitudes in the years since Fidel Castro himself expressed regret over the treatment of people perceived to be different.

"As time evolves, homophobic people — although they will always exist — are the minority," Hernandez said by phone from her hometown.

Cuba has slowly but surely been making headway on LGBT rights: Activists there have held gay pride "strolls" and Mariela Castro, daughter of current president Raul, has been advocating for civil unions there. Hernandez's election is just another step in the right, rather than the "Right," direction.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Is that her in the picture? Looks like a man to me. Short hair, hint of a beard. Did she go back to living as a man for the election?

    Posted by: Isaak | Nov 17, 2012 9:41:14 AM

  2. The headline of the Long Island Newsday for this article was, "Man living as Woman Elected."

    Posted by: sean | Nov 17, 2012 9:47:16 AM

  3. Calling someone a "Cuban elected-official" is an political oxymoron. Hernandez is either a committed-Communist loyal to the Castro regime, or a dupe.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Nov 17, 2012 9:53:57 AM

  4. Don't know where that pic is from. Here;s a link to another example of AP story WITH correct pic:

    PS-story goes on to state: Since 2007 the island has been covering sex-change surgery under its free health care system. Last year a gay man and a transsexual woman whose operation was paid for by the state garnered headlines for their first-of-its kind wedding.

    The country's most prominent gay rights activist is Mariela Castro, Fidel's niece and current President Raul Castro's daughter.

    As director of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, Mariela Castro has instituted awareness campaigns, trained police on relations with the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community and lobbied parliament to legalize same-sex unions.

    Posted by: Christopher | Nov 17, 2012 10:25:32 AM

  5. opps! Here's correct link:

    Posted by: Christopher | Nov 17, 2012 10:53:39 AM

  6. The Associated Press article is queer-illiterate. It opens saying she was denounced for her sexuality after living as female since childhood. Was she perceived as a gay man? Is she a lesbian? Bisexual? Does the author think trans is a sexuality? The author goes on about homosexuality seemingly unaware that trans is not just another kind of gay. And then there's the wedding between a gay man and a trans woman. Is he actually gay? Ex-gay, perhaps? Or does the author assume that a man is necessarily gay if he is involved with a trans woman? Or did a gay man in fact marry a mislabeled trans man?

    Posted by: Kyle | Nov 17, 2012 11:23:23 AM

  7. I didn't know they had elections in Cuba.

    Posted by: borut | Nov 17, 2012 11:50:56 AM

  8. I didn't know they had elections in Cuba.

    Posted by: borut | Nov 17, 2012 11:50:57 AM

  9. Viva Cuba Libre, for all LGBT Cubans.

    Posted by: Ned | Nov 17, 2012 12:00:05 PM

  10. There is no FREE Cuba as long as the Castro's are in power and control everything.

    Posted by: jaragon | Nov 17, 2012 12:06:40 PM

  11. Cuba is a ONE PARTY TOTALITARIAN STATE. If The Party 'elected' a trans individual, you can be sure they had some ulterior motive to do so, probably to impress western 'progressives'. Just my humble opinion. And this is classic traditional Latino views of homosexual men. They didn't elect a gay man who looks, speaks, and acts masculine, they 'elected' a trangendered. Traditional Latinos like their gay men to be women. This is probably why cross dressing and being transgendered is very big in South America.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 17, 2012 12:42:33 PM

  12. Ratbastard,

    There is no such thing as a "traditional Latino." Latino describes hundreds of millions of people from several countries that have their own cultures. Same sex marriage is legal in some Latin American countries and not in others. Some have liberal cultures. Some have conservative cultures. Some are mainly white. Some are mixed. Etc.

    No one who knows anything about Peru would say that it has the same culture as Brazil or Argentina or Puerto Rico.

    Posted by: Marshall | Nov 17, 2012 12:59:47 PM

  13. Don't be taken in: The Castro regime is trumpeting its dubious LGBT rights advocacy as a means of deflecting attention from its otherwise dismal human rights record. And I hear that the traditionally retrograde Cuban attitudes toward LGBT folk have changed very little.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Nov 17, 2012 1:12:44 PM

  14. That's nice. When the Castro dictatorship is ended and the people of Cuba are free to choose how they really want to be governed, then I'll be impressed. Until then, meh.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Nov 17, 2012 2:35:46 PM

  15. Who cares? This is not a gay news story. Stop equating gays with transsexuals.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 17, 2012 5:00:28 PM

  16. Jeff: by the most recent study I could find, two-thirds of post-transition transsexuals were LGB. Of course, there's also the history of inclusion, which has more recently been the cause for the use of the acronym LGBT.

    Posted by: thedrdonna | Nov 17, 2012 5:09:26 PM

  17. Jeff, we share mostly the same enemies. That's good enough for me.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 17, 2012 7:27:48 PM

  18. Sharing the same enemies doesn't make a gay man a transsexual or a transsexual a gay man.

    I'm a white gay guy and probably share a lot of the same enemies that the African American community faces. That doesn't make me an African American. Stop trying to distort what it means to be gay. We are NOT transsexuals.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 17, 2012 10:16:20 PM

  19. I volunteer at an LGBT community center. All of these folks work closely together because as sexual minorities we have many of the same problems and concerns and because there is strength in numbers.

    Posted by: andrew | Nov 17, 2012 10:32:48 PM

  20. No one is saying the being gay is being trans. Both are different, but fall under the greater header of "queer". Being LGB and being trans, insofar as they are separate, are both about being in a position where you subvert societal expectations regarding gender, and what is expected as a member of one's gender.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Nov 18, 2012 12:11:54 AM

  21. the gusanos never seems to quit -- their hate-memes are like the dying thumps of cardiac arrest

    Posted by: khan | Nov 18, 2012 1:02:24 AM

  22. @Marshall,

    Cut the sh*t,boss. You know perfectly well what I meant, i.e. macho culture. I'm well aware 'Latinos' and 'Hispanics' come from many different backgrounds, cultural norms, etc.,

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 18, 2012 12:08:37 PM

  23. Awww, Rick/Jason alias Ratbastard is angry. That poor troll.

    Posted by: MateoM | Nov 18, 2012 3:16:16 PM

  24. @Mateom: Why are you not the troll here?

    Posted by: andrew | Nov 19, 2012 1:52:37 AM

  25. @Khan. Clearly you have a problem with free speech? Free elections? Please go troll elsewhere.

    Posted by: Ken | Nov 19, 2012 3:13:31 AM

Post a comment


« «Towleroad Talking Points: Gaydar, Mitcham and Boo-Boo« «