Shayra González Pernía

Havana Cuba. – “I did not leave Cuba. I fled from that damned dictatorship, ”begins Shayra González Pernía, who has been sleeping for almost two weeks at the Turkish airport, from where the Turkish Airlines airline will take her out on Friday with a deportation order to Russia and from there to Cuba.

“I was one of the few trans women who was in the Prado march.” Refers to the march of May 11, 2019, where several activists from the LGTBIQ community and human rights in general were repressed.

“Then I made a call from Alex Otaola’s program to go to the Ministry of Justice asking for an end to harassment and the right to marriage [igualitario], but the trans community has been so harassed that nobody attended ”, laments Shayra.

“The July 11 It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced in my life. They told me ‘the town is on the street’ and I even left the kitchen on. I went out and left. I don’t know how they didn’t put me in jail because I was ahead, ahead”.

Although the Police had harassed her since before 11J, after the demonstration she learned that the Technical Department of Investigations (DTI) of the Ministry of the Interior was investigating her.

“Tania, one of the DTI in Zanja, had summoned me and explained that I had to work with them or that I was going to take what was going on,” she tells CubaNet, with the certainty that if he returns to Cuba, jail awaits him.

Shayra left the island for Russia knowing the consequences. From what she says, she has not been oblivious to the stories of the Cubans in that country, but she did not have many other options either. Before his visa expired, he bought a ticket to Egypt, where he could stay for a month according to immigration laws.

“So I leave Cairo with a round trip ticket to Serbia,” he details. However, on the stopover in Turkey the authorities did not allow him to proceed. Before paying the $ 890 cost for her ticket, she had taken the precaution, in vain, of asking airline officials if she would be in trouble.

On January 10, while in the queue of the check-in, An official approached him and after mocking that his passport name did not match his gender identity, notified him that he could not travel because Serbia did not “want” Cubans. With the money they returned and with the help of a friend, she managed to buy a ticket back to Russia, where they made fun of her again.

In the interrogation she was subjected to at the Moscow airport, she was told that tourist visas were restricted for Cubans and that their entry was subject to the decision of Immigration. His passport was never returned to him. They put her on a flight back to Turkey, where she remains awaiting deportation to Russia and eventually Cuba.

“What else am I going to tell you?” He asks in the cold of the Istanbul airport. “I haven’t bathed for days. The first day they gave me no food. I feel so stinky. I don’t have deodorant or soap, I use hand gel that has alcohol in it ”.

“They did not give me [golpes], but they did handcuff me, “he says. Ever since she undressed in protest, she feels that she has been considered crazy. “Every day I ask what they are going to do with me.”

“Do you know what it’s like to cry over a quilt and a pillow? I just said ‘Oh, if I had a little mattress’. It turns out that some tourists left one on a seat and I took it; With so many surgeries it is very difficult for me to sleep on the floor ”.

He feels sensitive because, from asking so much, he does not know if God or fate put a baby pillow in his path, with which he has managed to sleep better between the heating consoles.

Shayra González Pernía
Shayra González Pernía at the Istanbul airport (Photos: Courtesy)

Shayra not only came out on July 11 out of patriotism, as she has said, or because “it was a very nice thing to see [marchar] to so many young people ”, but because she herself needs justice.

“In Cuba I was everything. I tried to lead a normal life. Toward castings for actress. I worked in a pharmacy and I had to go for a synovitis that would not go away ”, he laments. Finally, she says that she accepted the fate of other women who, like her, are not covered by a gender identity law.

“I was a prostitute on the streets. What was he going to live on? ”He asks. Her story is that of so many trans women who cannot find employment in either state or private jobs, where transphobia outweighs intellectual abilities.

“I am a native of Manzanillo. When I was 17 years old, I emigrated to Havana because being trans in the East is for a mother ”, she reveals. However, in the capital, thinking that he would find more acceptance, he found a city where walking along 23rd Street in Vedado was a luxury for trans women: there they were not only harassed but taken away in broad daylight.

Shayra says she has many stories to tell. For this reason, when Internet access was expanded on the island, he tried to leave the streets.

“Stories of clients who raped me, who took my money; policemen who picked me up at 23 and that, in order for them to release me, I had to have sex with them. One of my big dreams is to arrive in a free country, in the European Union, where I can be a normal woman: have sex for pleasure and not because someone pays me ”.

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