Fernando is a transsexual and everybody who knows him calls her Malena […] The bosses force her to dress like a man and they tell her that,
if she does not present herself “properly dressed”, according to her sex assigned at birth, she will not be allowed to work
Fernando studied nursing and continued his studies until he finished his university degree as an intensive care nurse. He works at the Calixto García hospital in the municipality of Plaza de La Habana. However, the situation is more complicated: Fernando is a transsexual and everybody who knows him calls her Malena. All of her colleagues respect her and treat her as a woman, but the officials in charge handle her case differently. The bosses force her to dress like a man and they tell her that, if she does not present herself “properly dressed”, according to her sex assigned at birth, she will not be allowed to work. Malena is responsible for her elderly mother and a sister with severe mental disabilities, which means she has to cover the costs of medicine and sufficient food. Furthermore, she also has a serious heart condition and has suffered from diabetes since she was fourteen years old.
Malena has explained her case to the Ministry of Public Health, has sent letters to the attention of the general public, has written to President Miguel Diaz-Canel himself though she has not yet received a response. Malena feels that she cannot dress as a man if she feels like and lives as a woman, but on the other hand she needs her job and the low salary that it provides to support her family. For this reason, she dresses as a woman to get to work and stays that way until someone tells her that one of the bosses is wandering around the hallways, and then she dresses up again as Fernando. In the midst of this back and forth, her days pass by one after the other and she spends her time thinking about when the absurd lethargy will end and she will finally be able to show herself as she is and not have to put together a new montage every day, so as to not disturb the supreme patriarchy with its eternal olive-green procession of repressed homosexuals.
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