Cuban gay couple plans to wed on Fidel Castro's birthday

Cuban gay couple plans to wed on Fidel Castro's birthday

Wendy Iriepa, a 37-year-old who underwent a sex-change operation in 2007 on the island, and Ignacio Estrada, a 31-year-old gay man, will marry in an open ceremony.

"We met on May 13 of this year and we always intended to get married three months later," said Estrada - who considers himself gay but had fallen in love with Wendy, now a woman.

The couple decided to tie the knot on Aug 13 to coincide with Castro's 85th birthday and emphasize the "gigantic" step their union will signify for the island's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual, or LGBT, community.

Ignacio admitted that this wedding can be held thanks to the sex-change surgeries promoted by the National Sex Education Center, or Cenesex.

That institution, headed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and niece of Fidel, in recent years has headed an insistent campaign to make the political elite and public opinion more amenable to respecting sexual diversity.|

Among its achievements is the legalization of sex-change operations by government resolution in 2008.

Iriepa underwent a sex-change operation in 2007 and this year she received official documentation recognizing her sex as being feminine, thanks to the efforts of Cenesex.

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