A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann. Thanks to the Cuban connection for this press release that preceeded the transgender wedding that took place in 2011 and the events that caused it to occur. Remembering earlier this year we had seen news that gay marriage may have been legal by July but the marriages highlighted here weren’t really gay marriages weren’t they? seeing both events had persons undergoing sex reassignment surgeries to then marry.
see: Cuba may have gay marriage legal by July on Gay Jamaica Watch
The decision to green-light same-sex unions “is up to the Minister of Justice”, according to Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).
“We’ll keep fighting to get an answer soon”, the sexologist said during the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the TransCuba Group.
Legalization of same-sex marriage is one of the reforms CENESEX has been striving to include in Cuba’s new Family Code since 2007.
The issue came to the fore again recently when former CENESEX staff member Wendy Iriepa, a transgender woman who had a sex-change operation in 2007, married a gay man who is against the Center’s activity.
Iriepa quit her job as health assistant on July 7, citing “differences” with Mariela Castro regarding her new fiancé. She had decided to undergo sex-reassignment surgery a year before the Cuban Ministry of Public Health passed Resolution 126 declaring such service legal and free of charge. In early 2011, she got a whole new set of identity documents.
“I always thought the wedding of a transsexual these days would give us all an opportunity to celebrate TransCuba’s achievement together, but Wendy took that right away from us. I hope Cuban society understands that not all transgender people are the same,” Marifí Herández Lugo remarked.
CENESEX Director Castro Espín, in turn, admitted to be “very happy that she can get married with a man who seems to be the love of her life, even if he’s not exactly the straight man she expected to find. We wish her all the best, because we have worked very hard for our women’s happiness.”
In response to journalists who asked about the likely politicization of a wedding where the dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez and her husband acted at witnesses, the sexologist pointed out: “The U.S. government provides funds for LGBT groups opposed to what we do at CENESEX and smear campaigns against Cuba, and some people fall for it. They just don’t like CENESEX’s success”.
Since 1988, as a result of the Center’s efforts, 16 genital modification operations have been conducted and 3 sets of completely new IDs have been issued, out of 31 requests Cuban transsexuals have submitted to the National Commission for Transgender People’s Affairs.
The first wedding of a Cuban transsexual took place in the late 1980s, after doctors in the Island performed a successful operation on Mavi Susset or Mabi Suse, who has been married twice since then. This without any media coverage as it is understood at the time until a documentary was done on her and transgenderism in Cuba called in the wrong body – here is an excerpt of the piece
CENESEX has championed a widespread campaign to raise political awareness of, and gain respect for, people’s free sexual orientation and gender identity.