Cuba’s first transgender public official has taken office after being elected earlier this month to the municipal government of the city of Caibarien in the province of Villa Clara.
Adela Hernandez’s election as a delegate to the city council has been hailed as a milestone in a country where homophobia was state policy for decades.
"As time evolves, homophobic people -- although they will always exist -- are the minority," Hernandez, 49, told the Guardian, adding that her election "is a great triumph."
During the 1980s, Hernandez served two years in prison as she was considered a negative influence on society.
Since then, the Castro government has taken a more progressive stance, ending arbitrary imprisonment that discriminates against gays, and as of 2007, has included sex-change surgery within the country’s subsidized healthcare system.
Hernandez has vowed to advocate for the gay rights in addition to representing her community.
“I represent a community but I will always keep in mind the defense of gays," Hernandez told the Guardian.