Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the trans community for over 30 years.
“For the past 35 years, I have been involved with the transgender community as a photographer, writer, advocate, ally, and friend,” Allen said in an email to Queerty. “My focus remains the same as when I started: the ‘de-freakification’ of gender variant people.”
Her new book TransCuba captures the everyday lives of trans people living in Cuba. Through a series of photographs, interviews, and essays, Allen’s book ultimately offers a message of hope, showing the growing visibility and acceptance of the trans community in a country whose government is transitioning into a more relaxed model of communism under Raúl Castro.
“It seems to me that the changes being made by the Cuban government are most obvious when we look at the people who, by their nature, need to transition from their birth gender,” Allen says. “I see transgender Cubans as a metaphor for Cuba itself; people living between genders in a country moving between doctrines.”
Check out Allen’s work below. And see more of her photography on her website.
Lady and Laura, at the Las Vegas Club, Havana
Maulu with her parents and sister, in front of their home, Cienfuegos
Charito at home with one-week old piglet, Camaguey
Amanda at home wearing Eiffel Tower T-shirt, Havana
Wendy at home, Havana
Rapunzel, 15 years old, Havana
Laura at home, Havana
Nomi and Miguel, partners, watching television at Malu’s apartment
Alsola, Santiago de Cuba
Miguel at a barber shop, Havana
Miguel observing Amanda and Henry, at Malu’s apartment, Havana
Paloma with her boyfriend at Mi Cayito beach, near Havana
Performer, backstage at the National Theater
Natalie, with two self-portraits, Havana