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The drag queens warm up Havana with the steam of their bodies. Prostitution has been their lifesaver. Some with warrior faces and others as shy princesses patrol the streets and avenues of a broken Havana. Lady Gaga is not the icon for them anymore.
In the stories of these drag queens we find dysfunctional homes, school drop- outs, sexual violation by a relative, and above all, humiliation and rejection since childhood for being different.
As they consider themselves to be in the wrong body, they have transformed it with accessories, paper-mache tits, hormones, or surgery. The will to live has allowed some of them to work in hospitals, as hairdressers, or by singing in small clubs. For others, prostitution has been their lifesaver. Her corn-blonde wig contrasts with her dark skin. With her spike heels and fleshy lips painted red, she goes out every night, from the male chauvinist district of Los Sitios in Central Havana up to the slums of Vedado.
Her theater of operation is 23rd Street. They come in search of a repressed fantasy. And since then I have not stopped selling my skin. Samantha, who considers herself one of the most sought-after transvestites of homoerotic Havana, agrees. And no one imagines the dangers we face. Cubans have forgotten the fear of AIDS, that we can get infected. The worst is the macho abusers who abuse us.
We walk with a pocket knife or a scissors to defend ourselves. Similarly, a tourist or the police can hurt us. We gamble with life. Although sometimes we experience the tenderness of a desperate Negro, who searches in us for the fantasy of enjoying a white women, a pleasure, sometimes unattainable, because of the racial prejudice in our society. Every day they look at the sea, at the hope of the arrival of a cruise ship full of sailors.