What It’s Like to Be Transgender in Cuba

Two Women at the Las Vegas Club
Laura and Lady at the Las Vegas Club, Havana, Cuba.
Mariette Pathy Allen
This post contains nudity.
Mariette Pathy Allen has been an advocate and documentarian of the transgender community for more than 35 years. While much of her work has focused on the United States, in 2012, Allen traveled to Cuba with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health for a symposium about transgender identity and culture organized by Mariela Castro Espin, director of the Cuban National Center of Sex Education in Havana, and the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro.
Curious about life in Havana, Allen decided to spend a week in the Cuban capital once the conference ended and met two local trans identified women, Amanda and Nomi, at the Cabaret Las Vegas. The three struck up an immediate friendship.
“I had a rare privilege of going wherever they were going, just visiting and wandering” Allen said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever walked so much in my life! It was wonderful.”

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