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124949CORRECTION: Re: MH/Tamayo: Cuban transgender woman says she was fired

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  • Jimmy
    Jul 11, 2011
      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:
      > http://www.state.gov/g/drl/p/166462.htm
      >
      > 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
      > jtamayo@...
      >
      > <http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/09/2307391/cuban-transgender-woman-says-she.\
      > html>
      >
      > 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.
      > Reuters
      >
      > A transgender woman has quit her job at a government-run sex studies center
      > headed by the daughter of Cuban ruler Raúl Castro, alleging that Mariela Castro
      > accused her of disloyalty because of her relationship with a gay opposition
      > activist.
      >
      > Castro “challenged my life, (asking) why am I with my man?” 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
      > Castro’s push for government approval of sex-change surgeries and steady
      > participant in center-organized events for Cuba’s 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 father’s 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. That’s 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: Iriepa’s lover, Ignacio
      > Estrada, a gay activist for the rights of HIV-positive Cubans and self-described
      > “opponent of the Castro government” 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 Estrada’s participation and asked “how she could live,
      > in bed and in a home, with an enemy of the revolution,” 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 center’s help.
      >
      > “I submitted my letter of resignation yesterday, noting it was due to
      > interference in my personal life. I never before had any political problems,”
      > Iriepa told El Nuevo Herald before handing the phone to Estrada because she was
      > busy.
      >
      > Iriepa and Estrada also claimed that she tasted Castro’s 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 Castro’s 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.
      >
      > Iriepa’s 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 “has been a sign of humanity that the Cuban government has given.
      > We have a lot to be thankful for,” 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 women’s 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 Cuba’s affairs.
      >
      > But a gay Havana man who blogs under the name of “Paquito el de Cuba” 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
      > revolution.
      >
      > He noted an El Nuevo Herald report last month that the U.S. State Department
      > planned to commit $300,000 this year to help Cuba’s LGBT community, and that
      > an organizer of the Gay Pride celebration had met with former President Jimmy
      > Carter in March.
      >
      > “Not one word more,” he concluded, as though he had proven his point.
      >
      > Read more:
      > http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/09/v-print/2307391/cuban-transgender-woman-sa\
      > ys-she.html#ixzz1RiWHF1KR
      >
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