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What It’s Like to Be Transgender in Cuba
Mariette Pathy Allen has been an advocate and documentarian of the transgender community for more than 35 years. While much of her work has focused on the United States, in 2012, Allen traveled to Cuba with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health for a symposium about transgender identity and culture organized by Mariela Castro Espin, director of the Cuban National Center of Sex Education in Havana, and the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro.
Curious about life in Havana, Allen decided to spend a week in the Cuban capital once the conference ended and met two local trans identified women, Amanda and Nomi, at the Cabaret Las Vegas. The three struck up an immediate friendship. “I had a rare privilege of going wherever they were going, just visiting and wandering” Allen said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever walked so much in my life! It was wonderful.”
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Izzie Adams ~ Genderfucked
Ich will es aggressiv, auffallend, provokativ. Warum? Weil ich genau weiß, dass es da draußen noch einige Personen wie mich gibt, die sich jedoch nicht ans Licht wagen, weil über uns nicht (oder zumindest so gut wie nie) gesprochen wird. Weil wir nicht für voll genommen werden, in Frage gestellt werden, man uns nicht ernst nimmt und sich die Freiheit nimmt zu behaupten, besser zu wissen wer wir sind, als wir selbst. Weil die Gesellschaft vom Konstrukt der Gender-Binary (Männlich und Weiblich) regelrecht zerfressen und besessen ist. Aus diesem Grund müssen wir laut sein, aggressiv, auffallend und provokant.
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Eli Erlick and her Story
Eli Erlick was born on 10 July 1995. She announced that she was a girl at age 8 which led her to become a victim of harassment and bullying at school. While she presented as female, her teachers forced her into programs with boys. She described herself as “shy” due to her unfair treatment. At age 13, her parents allowed her to completely transition socially and medically. She quickly became present in media through involvement in GLSEN, pushing for California's the School Success and Opportunity Act, and founding the organization Trans Student Equality Resources. She is currently attending Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
In 2011, Erlick founded Trans Student Equality Resources, an organization for creating equal education opportunities for transgender students. According to Erlick, TSER is best known for its infographic series, which has been seen by millions of people and shared on thousands of blogs and web sites. The series has become a collaborative effort between multiple LGBTQ organizations such as The It Gets Better Project and Lambda Legal. Erlick’s work with the LGBTQ community led her to be a Trans 100 honoree and the youngest person to ever appear on a Refinery29 30 Under 30 list.
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Ancient sources tell of another favorite, Bagoas; a eunuch “exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate.” Plutarch recounts an episode (also mentioned by Dicaearchus) during some festivities on the way back from India in which his men clamor for him to kiss the young man: “We are told, too, that he was once viewing some contests in singing and dancing, being well heated with wine, and that his favourite, Bagoas, won the prize for song and dance, and then, all in his festal array, passed through the theatre and took his seat by Alexander’s side; at sight of which the Macedonians clapped their hands and loudly bade the king kiss the victor, until at last he threw his arms about him and kissed him tenderly.” A novel by Mary Renault, The Persian Boy, chronicles that story with Bagoas as narrator.
The Persian Boy is a 1972 historical novel written by Mary Renault and narrated by Bagoas, a young Persian from an aristocratic family who is captured by his father’s enemies, castrated, and sold as a slave to the king Darius III, who makes him his favorite. Eventually he becomes the lover and most faithful servant of Alexander the Great, who overthrew Darius and captured the Persian Empire. Bagoas’ narration provides both a Persian view of the conquest and an intimate look at the personality of the conqueror. In Renault’s view, Alexander’s love for Bagoas influenced his desire to unite the Greek and Persian peoples. Renault also posits the notion that Alexander’s relentless drive to conquer the world stemmed in part from his troubled relationship with his domineering mother, and his desire to “escape” from her influence by leading his army ever eastward.
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