Transsexual Woman, Gay Man Marry in Cuba

Ceremony called a milestone, although gay marriage still illegal
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2011 5:52 AM CDT
Transsexual Woman, Gay Man Marry in Cuba
Wendy Iriepa, right, and Ignacio Estrada ride in a classic car holding up a gay rights banner in Havana, Cuba, Saturday Aug. 13, 2011.The wedding was the first-of-its-kind for Cuba.   (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

(Newser) – Less than a year after Fidel Castro apologized for Cuba's history of gay persecution, Cuba has had its first gay marriage ... kind of. Gay marriage remains illegal in Cuba, but yesterday saw the wedding of a gay man and transsexual woman, reports the AP—the bride, Wendy Iriepa, is now officially a woman, four years after undergoing state-sponsored sex-change surgery. "We celebrate it at the top of our voices and affirm that this is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba," said groom Ignacio Estrada, a gay-rights activist.

"He's gay, but he's a man," said Iriepa, who is close to Castro's niece, one of Cuba's most prominent gay-rights activists. "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." And while the wedding has stirred up some political controversy in Cuba, the couple tried to deflect such criticisms. "How positive! Cuba now shows itself to be a kaleidoscope of ideas," wrote one bridesmaid, a prominent dissident, on Twitter. (Read more Cuba stories.)

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