Adela Hernandez, a 48-year-old transgender woman, this month made history by becoming the first openly trans person to be elected to public office in Cuba. Hernandez was elected as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara, reports the Associated Press.
Hernandez, who served two years in prison for "dangerousness" in the 1980s after her family denounced her and turned her in to the authorities, said her election is a landmark moment emerging from the country's dark history that includes decades of persecution of LGBT people.
"As time evolves, homophobic people — although they will always exist — are the minority," Hernandez told the AP. Becoming a delegate, which is a position similar to that of a city councilor, "is a great triumph," Hernandez said.
Hernandez was elected earlier this month, winning a runoff vote 280-170. In her new position, Hernandez will be eligible to serve as a Parliamentary representative in early 2013, according to the AP.
Cuba has been on a long journey toward acceptance of its LGBT citizens, beginning when Fidel Castro himself apologized for the way gay and lesbian people were treated, harassed and shipped to work camps for years following the 1959 communist revolution. Since 2007, Cuba has one of the few nations worldwide with centralized healthcare that covers gender reassignment surgery in full. Earlier this year, LGBT Cubans marched together in the second annual Pride parade.
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