I have to admit I have somewhat been avoiding this story, which has become a very big story in some transgender circles.
Last Saturday, on Fidel Castro’s 85th birthday, post-op transsexual woman Wendy Iriepa, 37, whose surgery at the National Sex Education Centre (CENESEX) was paid for by the Cuban government four years ago, married the love of her life, gay-activist and dissident Ignacio Estrada, 31.
Their engagement had caused so much turmoil within CENESEX (causing a rift between her and CENESEX director Mariela Castro (daughter of Raul and niece of Fidel) that Wendy resigned her position (or was fired) at CENESEX, where she had been in charge of the care of transsexual persons.
Whatever the case may be, the 37-year-old transsexual underwent a radical change: from holding an active and distinguished post in the institution, to joining demonstrations by the dissident Women in White, a group of relatives of political prisoners.
She also invited internationally renowned dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez and her husband, journalist Reynaldo Escobar, to stand up in her wedding.
In response to Perez Hilton’s coverage: there is no such thing as a transgender wedding.
Estrada called the marriage a “birthday present to (former Cuban president) Fidel Castro to remind him of the atrocities he committed against the Cuban gay community, above all in the 1960s.
“I don’t know why it’s been politicised, because Ignacio and I did not want to make it political,” said Iriepa. However, she said apologies for past mistakes by Fidel Castro himself were not enough to redress the persistence of police harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in public places.
More than a few transpeople in North America Have expressed their displeasure at headlines like this: Gay Man and Transsexual Woman Marry in Cuba, fearing that all their efforts to explain that they are not just gay men having surgery to have sex with men are going to be shot down in flames.
Part of that stems from the promotion of the event as “the first gay marriage in Cuba”. But that only happens if people don’t accept that Wendy is a woman. Like in the following report, where they are identified as a “smae-sex couple”:
Which, of course, some quarters will not:
As Christians we believe that this is something that is condemned by God, because the word of God says in the book of Genesis that man and woman were created…What they are gaining is nothing less than the wrath of God…
–Yuri Castellanos, First Baptist Church of Yaguajay
A more positive spin is given at SexIs:
How positive! Cuba now shows itself to be a kaleidoscope of ideas … The only thing missing is for them not to be repressed.
–Yoanni Sanchez, dissident blogger and maid of honor
ANd we have a couple of more quotes from On Top magazine:
I always said I was gay. But with Wendy, it’s totally different. Today, I don’t know what I am – all I know is that I am in love with a woman.
He’s gay, but he’s a man. He has a penis and he makes me happy. I had a penis, which I used a lot when I was selling myself on the streets. Now, if I need to resort to sex toys for him, I will do it.
I think it is important to remember that our struggle as transpeople has been one of winning the right to define ourselves. I think Wendy and Ignacio deserve the same rights as well.
While a marriage between a man and a woman is something some may very much want to define as a heterosexual marriage, give them the right to define themselves and their relationship as they see fit.
Isn’t that true marriage equality?
In other news
A few days ago I wrote about the murder of Camila Guzman in East Harlem. Someone has been arrested in the case. Her boyfriend of about four months, Equan Southall, will be arraigned on Monday. No motive has been disclosed.
The article at the link originally referred to Camila by her male birth name. I complained about the lack of respect in the comments and the article was edited.
Adam Corolla decided to spew some trash out of his piehole in a recent podcast. Specifically about transpeople, he ranted,
When did we start giving a shit about these people?
And now there’s all these variations where it’s like, ‘I’m a pre-op transgender, trans-neutral, transfat’ — shut the fuck up…. Everytime I see Chaz Bono, my cock just looks at me and goes, ‘Huh? What do I do?
We know that Corolla is not alone in this feeling, but it was disturbing nonetheless.
And for the nontrans GLBT people, there was this:
Gay people should just get married and shut up.
Carolla has since issued a non-apology:
I’m sorry my comments were hurtful. I’m a comedian, not a politician.
In response the transgender dating site TrannyDate.com has offered him a job
to help him understand “why people do in fact care about us.”
Perhaps if he read this story about a couple whose relationship has (so far) survived the husband’s transition.