Cuban Transgender Wedding
August 14, 2011 by staff
Cuban Transgender Wedding, A gay man and a woman sex change operation was paid by the state tied the knot Saturday in the first of its kind wedding for Cuba, a sign of how much the country’s attitude toward sexuality has changed since the gays and transgender people suffered persecution in the early years after the revolution.
Iriepa girlfriend Wendy, 37, arrived at a wedding hall in Havana in the afternoon in a vintage Ford convertible and a full white wedding dress, flowers in her hair and holding a rainbow flag. Neighborhood residents left their homes to gawk at the wedding party and journalists mobbing the car.
“This is the first marriage between a transsexual woman and a gay man,” said the groom 31-year-old Ignacio Estrada. “We celebrate it at the top of her voice and say that this is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba.”
Inside, a notary public joined them in a brief civil ceremony and the newlyweds kissed amid the applause of friends and family.
Gay marriage is not legal in Cuba and the wedding on Saturday did nothing to change that from Iriepa, born Alexis is a woman in the eyes of the law.
Iriepa had sex-change operation in 2007 as part of a pilot program that began in earnest the following year and made the sex-change procedures for a system of universal health care on the island. A transgender woman other married for many years, but Iriepa is the first to do so under the new policy.
In the early years after 1959, Fidel Castro’s revolution, hmosxlity is considered highly suspect, along with other “alternative” forms of expression, such as fashion trends U.S. and rock and roll.
Many gays and transsexuals were fired from government jobs, imprisoned, sent to labor camps or left for exile. That the famous writer Reinaldo Arenas chronicled the climate of persecution exiled autobiography “Before Night Falls,” later a movie starring Javier Bardem.
Today, though deep macho attitudes toward hmosxlity have not completely disappeared, the island and its government are much more tolerant.
The country’s most prominent gay activist rights are Mariela Castro, niece of Fidel Castro and the daughter of President Raul Castro. She directs the National Center for Sex Education and has been firmly established in the Cuban bureaucracy.
At an event Friday transgender, spoke of her institution, including campaigns against homophobia and pushing the state to cover sex-change operations. Castro is also pressing for same-sex unions, although no law has been approved.
“One of our achievements has made it possible for Wendy to marry,” he said. “It seems that she found the love of her life and wish him congratulations, because all our work has been for this, Welfare and happiness of our brothers”
Like so many things in Cuba, wedding on Saturday has been politicized and words of greeting Castro denied the divisions that have taken over the gay movement.
Some have accused her of monopolizing the cause and struck out themselves, the organization of a separate, smaller Pride March this year and become labeled members of a “dissident” of the gay community.
Estrada was part of the march, and has Iriepa separated from her work at the Center for Sex Education, reportedly after Mariela Castro questioned the relationship.
Soon after, Estrada announced her forthcoming wedding Iriepa and political dissident blogger Yoani said Sanchez, whose writings on everyday life have earned him international fame and both strong condemnation by the government, would be the maid of honor.
“How positive! Cuba is now revealed as a kaleidoscope of ideas … All you need is not being repressed,” Sanchez said through Twitter.
The leaders of the dissident group Ladies in White were also present.
Estrada in the recent comments of U.S. Radio Marti called the marriage a “birthday gift for Fidel Castro to remind the atrocities committed against the Cuban gay community, especially in the 1960s.”
Fidel Castro, who turned 85 on Saturday, has complained in recent years in the treatment of hmosxls during that period, saying it was a mistake.
Mariela Castro said he was not invited to the wedding and the opposition accused the gay community in building democracy to take money from Washington.
“The U.S. government funds are to create LGBT (lsbn, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups who oppose the position of the National Sex Education Center,” she claimed.
U.S. Officials spoke of redirecting funds to the Afro-Cuban and LGBT groups, although it is unclear whether this funding has begun.
“I think this has been politicized by the Cuban government. I did not want to do this in a circus or something very political,” said Iriepa, who thanked Mariela Castro to want the best. “It’s the happiest day of my life.”
The couple held after the wedding in a space next door to the party and planned to honeymoon at an undisclosed location for a little privacy, Estrada said.
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