Funny thing about this article. It now has a new title! It is :"
Transgender activist resigns after clash with Castro daughter"
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/09/2307391/cuban-transgender-woman-says-she.html#ixzz1RmykKpcB
--- In CubaNews@yahoogroups.com, "walterlx" <walterlx@...> wrote:
> As Jimmy pointed out, the article is back online now.
> This peculiar MH article, to which I posted a response, suddenly
> vanished from the MH website. Among other things, I pointed out
> that the headline says Wendy was fired, but the body of the text
> says she resigned from her position. As it happens, I met Wendy
> on my last full day in Cuba, May 8th, when she was still working
> apparently happily at CENESEX. She gave me a trove of imaginative
> anti-homophobia posterd from CENESEX. She had become something of a minor star
> in Cuba's LGBT world, her image having been circulated
> all over the planet because she was Cuba's first patient to receive
> gender reassignment surgery AT NO COST TO HERSELF.
> I pointed out that pro-Cuban blogger Paquito's statement what the
> US government has announced a $300,000.00 grant to promote gay
> right in Cuba wasn't simply his OPINION, but rather a FACT, which
> anyone could verify by looking at the State Department's website:
> Finally, it occurred to me to wonder why Washington is so anxious to promote gay
> rights in Cuba, but not to promote them in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan
> or even in Libya while dropping bombs on that African nation?
> Walter Lippmann
> Los Angeles, California
> MIAMI HERALD
> Posted on Sat, Jul. 09, 2011
> Cuban transgender woman says she was fired because her lover is with opposition
> By Juan O. Tamayo
> Wendy Iriepa, a transsexual who has has undergone a sex change operation, sits
> along Havana's El Malecon seafront boulevard during an interview with Reuters in
> Havana May 12, 2010.
> A transgender woman has quit her job at a government-run sex studies center
> headed by the daughter of Cuban ruler RaÃºl Castro, alleging that Mariela Castro
> accused her of disloyalty because of her relationship with a gay opposition
> Castro âchallenged my life, (asking) why am I with my man?â said Wendy
> Iriepa, 37, who added that she handed in her resignation Thursday to the
> National Sex Education Center in Havana (CENESEX), which Castro heads.
> Iriepa was a long-time fixture at the center: the first to benefit from
> Castroâs push for government approval of sex-change surgeries and steady
> participant in center-organized events for Cubaâs Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
> Transgender (LGBT) community.
> Castro, who directs CENESEX, has long been known as an advocate for LGBT rights
> and widely credited with lobbying the government to crack down on discrimination
> against gays and offer benefits to LGBT community members.
> But a small group of gays has accused her of monopolizing the LGBT rights
> movement, demanding total loyalty to her fatherâs government and blocking
> efforts to establish gay rights groups that are independent of the
> government-run CENESEX.
> On June 28, a small group of independent gays and lesbians known as the
> Observatory for LGBT Rights strolled down a Havana boulevard to mark Gay Pride
> Day. Thatâs a day Castro has refused to celebrate, arguing that such a protest
> is not necessary in Cuba.
> One of the Observatory members at the demonstration: Iriepaâs lover, Ignacio
> Estrada, a gay activist for the rights of HIV-positive Cubans and self-described
> âopponent of the Castro governmentâ who spoke at length about the Iriepa
> case in a phone chat with El Nuevo Herald.
> Castro summoned Iriepa to her office the day after the Gay Pride celebration,
> showed her videos of Estradaâs participation and asked âhow she could live,
> in bed and in a home, with an enemy of the revolution,â Estrada said.
> The CENESEX director added that she had lost all trust in Iriepa, he added,
> signaling that she would be demoted from her job arranging food services for
> CENESEX functions and managing a list of people who seek the centerâs help.
> âI submitted my letter of resignation yesterday, noting it was due to
> interference in my personal life. I never before had any political problems,â
> Iriepa told El Nuevo Herald before handing the phone to Estrada because she was
> Iriepa and Estrada also claimed that she tasted Castroâs food and checked any
> gifts she received, but two Havana residents who know Iriepa said she simply
> handled the food at the center.
> Iriepa and Estrada also said they plan to marry later this year and that as part
> of her job Iriepa usually tasted Castroâs food and checked any gifts she
> received. Two Havana residents who know Iriepa said she simply handled the food
> at the center.
> A woman who answered the phone at CENESEX on Friday said Castro was not
> available to comment for this article and that no one else knew anything about
> the Iriepa case.
> Iriepaâs sex-change surgery in 2007 was the first such procedure performed in
> Cuba after Castro and CENESEX had started to push the government, which owns all
> hospitals on the island, to approve the surgeries.
> She was interviewed for several news reports about LGBT rights in Cuba, Castro
> and CENESEX, and often marched prominently next to Castro at events organized by
> the center.
> Her surgery âhas been a sign of humanity that the Cuban government has given.
> We have a lot to be thankful for,â Iriepa declared in one interview with the
> British Reuters news agency.
> In a separate interview, she thanked Castro and said the sex studies center had
> helped her understand her rights, noting that even though it is legal for
> cross-dressers to wear womenâs clothes in Cuba, police often issue them fines.
> The Gay Pride celebration last month, though it drew no more than 20
> participants, cast a spotlight on the growing activism by a wide range of
> independent groups â" gays, blacks, artists and farmers, among others â"
> seeking a stronger voice in Cubaâs affairs.
> But a gay Havana man who blogs under the name of âPaquito el de Cubaâ and
> supports the Castro government made a thinly veiled accusation in a July 4 post
> that the independent gays and lesbians are being supported by enemies of the
> He noted an El Nuevo Herald report last month that the U.S. State Department
> planned to commit $300,000 this year to help Cubaâs LGBT community, and that
> an organizer of the Gay Pride celebration had met with former President Jimmy
> Carter in March.
> âNot one word more,â he concluded, as though he had proven his point.
> Read more: