A transgender woman and a gay man married Saturday on the 85th birthday of Fidel Castro in a wedding described as the first of its kind for Cuba.
Reuters reports on the civil ceremony in Havana for Ignacio Estrada, a 31-year-old gay rights activist and dissident, and Wendy Iriepa, 37. Their union is not classified as a same-sex marriage, which is illegal in Cuba, because Iriepa underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 2007 in the first such operation sanctioned by the state.
“But the wedding, held on Fidel Castro's 85th birthday in what the couple had called a ‘gift’ to the former leader, was aimed at advancing homosexual rights in Cuba and tinged with politics as some of Cuba's best-known dissidents participated and U.S. diplomats attended in a public show of support,” reports Reuters.
LGBT people once faced official discrimination in Cuba and were labeled as “counterrevolutionary,” but last year Castro recognized the injustice of the persecution. His niece Mariela Castro heads the National Sex Education Center, or Cenesex, which promotes gender-reassignment surgery. Iriepa used to work at the center, but Mariela, the daughter of current Cuban president Raúl Castro, did not attend the ceremony Saturday.
Reuters reports that the agenda for Cenesex includes a bill to allow same-sex marriages.
Watch the report on the wedding from Euro News.