PHOTOS: Cuba’s Vibrant Transgender Community Revealed

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