Kiriam, Malú and Victoria, three Cuban trans women from different generations, trust that the Family Code, which Cuba will submit to a referendum soon, will mitigate the phobia they have suffered for decades, but they advocate a gender identity law.

The Family Code, which will renew the law in force for 47 years, aims to revolutionize the concept of family by introducing equal marriage, but also the possibility of recognizing several fathers and mothers in addition to the biological ones and the "solidarity gestation".

The project of this code was submitted between January and April to a popular consultation neighborhood by neighborhood throughout the island.

"It is an important step, because in this code we talk about same-sex marriage, de facto union"something "very revolutionary"Kiriam, a 45-year-old trans actress, told AFP.

But Kiriam, who prepares to roll "Pier"by the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Arrazabal, bets on "a comprehensive gender identity law"what "criminalize homophobia, transphobia"and guarantee "the right of trans people to have a protected education, to have decent jobs".

Malú (58) arrived in Havana eight months ago from the center of the island, trying to erase a past of family rejection, mistreatment, police siege and two imprisonments for "dress as a woman"in 1980 and 2003.

"That the one who is born (trans) that they accept her like this, that they do not reject her"says hopefully this slender trans woman, in her "cottage" in Havana, without furniture and with a zinc roof. He lives off the money he receives in a club in the capital, where he imitates the Spanish singer Isabel Pantoja, her idol.

"deal with the pain"

"God wants it to be" As that law says, Victoria (73) asks, although the gray hair she hides behind a brown wig makes her cautious: "Paper says one thing and people do another".

Dressed in a tube skirt, a printed blouse and heels, Victoria, a retired cook, a neighbor of Malú, regrets having decided only 11 years ago "dress" of woman.

This bisexual trans appreciates being given "open my eyes" in TransCuba, a support and training network, with some 3,700 members throughout the country. "My life changed"she points out, while putting on makeup.

In a Cuba still marked by machismo and homophobia, whose government persecuted and marginalized homosexuals in the 1960s and 1970s, Kiriam does not forget the harassment he suffered for being "a different girl"nor how they forced her in a clinic "to practice combat sports" for "masculinize her".

"But I have known how to deal with the pain and make myself strong"adds the actress, who shows on Twitter her bulging breasts, the result of surgery "illegal".

Comment that "sometime" He also thought about undergoing sexual reassignment surgery, which began to be practiced in the country in 1988, but later changed his mind. These operations are interrupted by the economic crisis.

For more than a decade, the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) has promoted the fight for the rights of LGBTI people, under the direction of Deputy Mariela Castro, daughter of former President Raúl Castro.

Without success, the center promoted equal marriage in the proposal for a new Constitution approved in 2019, which enshrined the rights of that community. The new family code aims to go further.

We do not have to wait

Not all the news is encouraging. Mariela Castro said that the first results of the popular consultation on the code showed that Cubans accept equal marriage more than "solidarity gestation" and adoption by homosexual couples.

"Marriage doesn’t interest me as much as all the other rights"says Victoria, who went to jail for three months in 1983 after defending his gay status in court.

He gives as an example the case of a friend who had a homosexual relationship for 30 years. "In life, the family did not look at him, when he died everyone wanted to come to the gay’s house to strip things, and they left their partner on the street".

Ivón Calaña, deputy director of Cenesex, maintains that "not necessarily" We would have to wait for a gender identity law because aspects such as name and sex change, established in regulations already approved in countries such as Argentina, Chile and Mexico, could be included in other Cuban laws subject to review.

In any case, note that "a law by itself will not have enough force to compel that change" what is needed, and insists that in order to make progress in that direction "one of the most powerful tools is comprehensive sexuality education" since childhood.

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