+
More

After the surgery, they had no problem getting married.

Ana's finally happy in her own skin, but something is still missing.

True
The Atlantic Philanthropies

From the secret smiles, effortless laughs and public displays of affection, Ana and Abel don't hold back.

Watching them interact, there's no doubt they're in love.


But they weren't always this free.

Although Ana and Abel dated for nearly a decade before getting married, holding hands in the middle of Havana is brand new to them.

You see, Ana Rafaela Díaz Gómez was born in 1979. Her legal documents put her gender as male.

"In that time not much was known about this. Society rejected it, homosexuality and the like." — Ana

Date night wasn't always fun.

"We were more or less marginalized. There were many people who treated us badly ... the police. We could go out and it wasn't good because I was dressed as a woman." — Ana

Socializing wasn't the only problem. Finding a job was rough too.

"Society didn't see me in a good light when I was dressed as a woman but officially a man. So I'm a homemaker. My husband is the one who works." — Ana

But in 2008, things shifted for Ana and lots of Cubans who weren't living fully as themselves.

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. She saw the movement gaining momentum in Havana. In order to kickstart change, Mariela "persuaded the government in recent years to offer state-paid gender reassignment surgery and hormone treatment for transgender people," according to the New York Times.

Castro's new initiative gave Ana an opportunity to have the surgery she'd always wanted.

"There's no going back on it. You have to be sure it's what you want. I had the operation two years ago." — Ana

Although the Cuban government supports gender reassignment surgery, it doesn't allow same-sex marriages. Still, Ana's ability to legally become a woman was life-changing for her and Abel.

"A few years ago, this didn't exist. There was a lot of discrimination. Now I feel much better. I see that she feels good. So I do." — Abel

"When I was able to change my identity, we were legally married. Like regular, heterosexual people. It was complicated, but we did it. ... I met him eight years ago, before I had my surgery. He liked me how I am, like a person." — Ana

Now that Ana and Abel are living the newlywed life, babies are on the brain.

"I have my husband. I have my house. I think I have the right conditions to have a kid. But in terms of adoption, no. That's something we're still not able to do ... it is something that is still new in this country."

Out of 23 select Caribbean and Latin American countries, only 5 allow LGBTQQ people to adopt kids.

Although some change is happening in Cuba, like plenty of other places, they've still got miles to go.

To watch Ana's full story, check it out below:

via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

Keep ReadingShow less

Indie pop band Sub-Radio created a perfect introvert parody of Whitney Houston's hit song.

There are two kinds of people in this world—those who Google "nightlife" when they're exploring travel destinations and those with no desire to venture anywhere after 10:00 p.m.

Nothing against those folks who enjoy spending after-bedtime hours in crowded nightclubs, but "nightlife" just sounds like torture to me. Even during my somewhat wild college days, whenever I'd go out dancing late at night with my friends, the little voice in my head would say, "You know you'd rather be curled up on your couch in your jammies right now." And it was right. I would have.

While some introverts may genuinely look forward to a night on the town, I'd venture to guess most of us don't. By the end of the day, our social batteries are usually pretty tapped out, so a quiet evening with a movie or a book is almost always preferable to one that involves trying to make conversation over blaring music and strobe lights.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Magician changes his act so a visually impaired man can experience it for the first time

“I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

@magickevinli/TikTok

“There’s always a way to experience magic.”

Pro magician Kevin Li has dazzled audiences, celebrities and even heavy hitters in the industry like Penn and Teller with his impressive sleight of hand displays.

However, Li would tell you that one of his “most memorable” performances wasn’t for a sold out crowd, but for a single person who might normally miss out on his gifts.

A video posted to Li's TikTok shows Li offering up a magic trick to a man who is vision impaired. At first, the man politely declined, saying, “I’m blind, so the magic won’t work for me."

Without missing a beat, Li replied, “I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

Alabama community loves deaf Waffle House cook who taught his co-workers to use sign language

Manager Michael Clements has "never seen" an employee like Pookie White.

via Google

The Waffle House in Hope Hull, Alabama.

Even though companies with workplaces that make accommodations for disabled workers are happier and more profitable, there is still a huge discrepancy in workforce participation between deaf people and those who can hear. According to Deaf People and Employment in the United States, 53% of deaf people are in the workforce as compared to 75.8% of those who can hear.

One of the biggest hurdles to deaf people entering the workforce is discriminatory hiring practices, intentional or not.

“There are often layers of discriminatory hiring practices that make [workplace participation] statistics still hold true today,” the study says. “Such practices can range from the discriminatory language on the job ad itself, to the application & hiring process, and can even impact the promotion of deaf employees.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Stacey Natal/Total City Girl used with permission.

Jillian, “... my heart skips a beat."

This article originally appeared on 04.08.16


I'm trying desperately to be respectful of the person speaking to me, but my husband keeps texting me.

First he sends me a selfie of him with Rafi*, then it's an account of who stopped him on his way into the NICU.

Keep ReadingShow less