John M. Becker

New Book Celebrates Cuban Gay, Trans Cabaret Performers

Filed By John M. Becker | July 20, 2014 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: cabaret, Cuba, drag performer, drag queen, Havana, Kickstarter, transgender

havana-transformista-politzer.jpgPhotographer Eric Politzer is producing a new book, ¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana, that looks at the lives of gay and transgender cabaret performers in Havana, Cuba.

Politzer writes:

In recent history gay cabarets have fulfilled the role of community centers in Cuba in the absence of any gay establishments, such as bars, clubs, bathhouses, restaurants, etc. The cabarets have offered safe and welcoming places for LGTBQ people to gather - and, more importantly - to develop a sense of community. The cabarets, and the performances that take place there, have played a critical role in pushing for gay civil rights and promoting AIDS prevention awareness. Also, since the cabarets are popular with mainstream society, they have been the one place where LGBTQ and straight people have come together regularly in mutual acceptance and respect.

¡OUT! Las Transformistas of Havana essentially is a coming out story. It begins with photos of the Transformistas in the safe indoors and then it moves the transformistas out into public -- and sometimes iconic -- locations in Havana for the first time. This coming out of the cabarets or the closeted existence of home is a form of empowerment: the transformistas were claiming their right to be seen as they truly are in the same places where all other people from Havana can go freely.

Watch a video with more information about ¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana, after the break.

Photo by Eric Politzer.


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