THE SATURDAY PROFILE: A Transgender Elected Official Reflects an Evolving Cuba

Repeating Islands


“It’s a huge achievement. For a country that has been so homophobic to change so dramatically — it’s unheard of.” ADELA HERNANDEZ, the first transgender elected official in Cuba, as told to VICTORIA BURNETT of The New York Times.

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…

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