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

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  • walterlx
    As Jimmy pointed out, the article is back online now. ======================================= This peculiar MH article, to which I posted a response, suddenly
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 10, 2011
      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
    • Jimmy
      Funny thing about this article. It now has a new title! It is : Transgender activist resigns after clash with Castro daughter Read more:
      Message 2 of 4 , 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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