The bride wore a white gown, rode in a vintage convertible and held a rainbow flag behind her. It was a first for Cuba: Wendy Iriepa, a transgender woman, married Ignacio Estrada, a gay man, in a Havana wedding hall on Saturday, the AP reports. “We celebrate it at the top of our voices and affirm that this is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba,” Estrada said.
Same-sex marriage is still not legal in Cuba but the country has changed its attitudes towards sexuality in the years since the 1959 revolution when gays and transexuals suffered persecution, including being sent to jails or work camps. Iriepa’s gender reassignment surgery was sponsored by the state “in 2007 as part of a pilot program that began in earnest the following year and made gender-reassignment procedures part of the island's universal health care system. One other transgender woman married many years ago, but Iriepa is the first to do so under the new policy.”
Fidel Castro’s niece, Mariela Castro, is the country’s most prominent gay rights activist, and though the AP report talks about rifts between LGBT activists in the country, the wedding appears to have been both a cause for celebration—and celebration of a cause. Dissident blogger and maid of honor Yoani Sanchez tweeted “How positive! Cuba now shows itself to be a kaleidoscope of ideas ... The only thing missing is for them not to be repressed.”