Meet Cuba’s First Transgender Public Official

Attitudes toward the LGBT community in Cuba have slowly begun to change. But they took a giant leap forward when Adela Hernandez was elected to public office in early November.

1. This is Adela Hernandez, 48, of Caibarien, Cuba.

Adela is biologically and legally male, but she has lived as a female since childhood.

2. In the 1980s, Adela’s family disowned her because of her sexuality. She spent two years in jail for “dangerousness.”

Her own father had reported her to the authorities. She was repeatedly physically attacked, and had to move to a new town.

3. Over the years Adela worked as a hospital janitor, nurse, and electrocardiogram technician.

She became a vital part of her community, serving as a long-standing member of her neighborhood watch committee. “My neighbors know me as Adela, the nurse,” she says.

4. And she felt so secure in her place that she decided to run for office as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien.

The position is equivalent to city councilor.

5. She won. Adela Hernandez is now the first transgender person to hold public office in Cuba and is eligible to run for Parliament in 2013.

6. And while she plans to fight for gay rights, Adela understands that her example can inspire anyone.

Quotes courtesy of the Huffington Post. Photos by Ramon Espinosa for the AP.

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