She Likes Being Called Fara

By Miguel Arias Sanchez

Fara entering the neighborhood rations store.

HAVANA TIMES – Yep, she likes being called Fara, she enjoys it. With a scarf tied around her hair, she walks around the neighborhood looking for the basics to eat and live. She is a very simple person, of few words and very honest. We have omitted her real name at her request; we will call her F.

HT: Are you originally from Regla?

F: I wasn’t born in Regla, but in Central Havana near Parque de la Fraternidad. When I was two years old, my parents moved to this town [across Havana Bay] and I’ve been living here for 24 years.

HT: Where did you study then?

F: I went to the Antonio Maceo primary school and my high school was on Aranguren street, on the corner of Adriano street.

HT: When did you realize that you were attracted to the same sex? Was it traumatic for you?

F: Ever since I was a little girl. I used to like playing with girls more than boys. I was drawn to a doll more than car or a gun. My father was the only man in my home and my aunts would put make up on me and wrap my hear up in a scarf in the evenings, playing. They would say, what a beautiful girl! And I used to love all of that. I used to help them wash and clean, I stayed at home with them, I almost never went out to play on the street.

HT: What happened when you went to school?

F: Well, I felt rejected by the boys, they used to laugh and keep me away; they would sometimes hit me and I would have to go to the principal to complain.

HT: What did your parents do?

F: They always loved me unconditionally, especially my mother who I love so very much. She was always checking in, she would go to the school regularly and she was very worried about me; I didn’t have to worry on that front.

HT: What do you do now?

F: I work at the Miguel Enriquez Hospital; I take food to the patients and anything else they might need.

HT: Do you like it?

F: It’s good for me, I feel like I’m doing something useful and necessary. The patients love me and give me affection, just like I do to them.

HT: Do your work colleagues accept you?

F: I have been like this from the very moment I came into this world and I’m not ashamed. Every person is free to be however they want to be, and I want to be like this, I don’t want to hide or repress myself. There are many people like me at the hospital, who work as cleaners, stretcher handlers, and we get on really well.

Fara in the streets of Regla

HT: Do you feel like a gay man or like a woman in a man’s body?

F: Look, I’ve already told you that I have felt this way ever since I was a little girl, and I wanted to become a woman more and more as I grew; today, I feel like a woman, that’s what I wanted and that’s how I feel.

HT: Would you like to have a sex change?

F: Of course, if I could I would definitely do it. That would be absolute happiness, although that doesn’t exist, there are only moments of happiness and that would be one of these for me.

HT: I’m sure that you are aware of the commotion that Article 68 of the new draft Constitution has given rise to. If it is approved and same-sex marriage is legalized, would you marry a man?

F: If he loves me and I love him, and he treats me well, why not?  I wouldn’t give it a second thought and it would be “until death do us part”.

HT: What does Mariela Castro mean to you?

F: She’s the best, she’s our godmother, she protects us, helps us, loves us and is always aware of our concerns, problems and needs. She is an exceptional woman, without any prejudice and she knows what she is fighting for and what she wants. We all love her.

HT: So, the final question: do you feel self-fulfilled?

F: Not as a man, but as a woman definitely, 100%.

Miguel Arias

Miguel Arias Sánchez: I was born in Regla in 1949. That’s where I went to elementary and high school. Afterwards I took courses to be a teacher and did that for several years. I did my military service and as soon as I got out I studied formally to be a teacher graduating at the University of Havana. I taught in classrooms for nearly 20 years. I had the opportunity to travel and see another reality. I returned and am currently doing different self-employed activities.



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