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A Transgender Elected Official Reflects an Evolving Cuba

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The New York Times
|
March 18, 2013

José Agustín Hernández may not be precisely the kind of New Man whom Che Guevara pictured shaping Cuban socialism. Ms. Hernández, 48, who identifies as a woman and goes by Adela, would sooner cut a lazy bureaucrat to size with her sharp tongue than chop sugar cane with a machete. And you would more likely catch her hauling water to her house in platform heels than trudging the streets in fatigues and work boots. So Ms. Hernández was more than a little tickled when she became the first transgender person to be elected to public office in Cuba, a country whose government once viewed homosexuality as a dangerous aberration and, in the 1960s, packed gay men off to labor camps.