Transgender health in cuba: evolving policy to impact practice.

Published: October 12, 2010

Abstract

"I never felt like a boy. In school I was rejected, made fun of, and mistreate… There were times I wanted to kill myself. No one chooses this," confides Mavi Susel, protagonist of the 2010 Cuban documentary In the Wrong Body (En el cuerpo equivocado). On May 22, 1988, Mavi became the first Cuban to receive sex reassignment surgery on the island. Her tale of stigmatization, solitude and pain is not uncommon in Cuba or the world at large. Rejecting one’s biological sex due to the discordance between an individual’s genitalia (biological sex) and their gender identity (psychological sex) is the definition of transsexuality. "This incongruity is felt profoundly by transsexual people, is permanent, and causes great anguish," internist Dr Alberto Roque told MEDICC Review. "This anguish can result in severe mental health disorders, usually related to discrimination, stigmatization, and rejection." In turn, victimization renders some transgender people reluctant to seek medical care or fully disclose their gender identity when they do.[1].

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