Alex Blaze

Free SRS a todos!

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 09, 2008 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Cuba, sex change cuba, srs, transexual, transgender

From Cuba:

New horizons opened up for transsexuals in Cuba with the approval of a Public Health Ministry resolution that establishes guidelines for their health care, including free gender reassignment operations.

"It was just approved. The operations will begin to be carried out as soon as the Cuban medical team is ready to start," Mariela Castro, head of the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), told IPS.

Since 2004, Castro, President Raúl Castro's daughter, has been the driving force in the effort to achieve integral health care for transsexuals in Cuba.


The devil's always in the details, of course. I don't know what guidelines the CENESEX will be using to determine who qualifies and who doesn't, but here's the numerical break-down:

Since its creation as a working group in 1979, the National Commission for Integral Care of Transsexual People has received 92 applications and has confirmed the diagnosis of 27 transsexuals, two transvestites and two effeminate male homosexuals, according to "La transexualidad en Cuba" (Transsexualism in Cuba), a book published by CENESEX in May.

Of the 27 diagnosed transsexuals, 19 hope to undergo surgery. The other eight do not, but they want to legally change their gender identity. So far, 13 have been able to change their names and replace the photo on their identity cards, and seven are waiting for approval of the process by the Justice Ministry.

Only two of the 27 are female-to-male transgender persons, and the statistics include the male-to-female transsexual who underwent surgery in 1988 and has lived as a woman since then.

More than half of them live in Havana, and they range in age from 31 to 40. Most are white, only five completed secondary school, and eight have been accepted as members of the Cuban Women's Federation (FMC), the only women's association in this Caribbean island nation.

Cuba is 65% white.

They currently don't allow people to change the gender on their state ID without undergoing SRS, but they're working to change that:

"We have also presented the arguments for a decree law on gender identity that would legally establish that a sex reassignment operation is not necessary for obtaining a change of identity, in the case of diagnosed transsexuals. That would basically amount to social recognition of their identity," said Castro.

h/t Beth Marion

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Very interesting. I just wondering is we should build bomb shelters once again? With Bush still the "King," we may see a transsexual version of the Bay of Pigs. Of course, if they recognize non-ops as the gender they are living as, we may see an attack of another kind on Cuba.

"¡Viva la Revolución!"

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 9, 2008 1:02 PM

It’s not just happening in Cuba. Latin America as a whole is in the midst of a sea change regarding GLBT rights. That has to be good news for our brothers and sisters in that priest ridden region.

The elections of left wing, anti-American pro-union governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil and elsewhere have helped spur this change and so have the corrective initiatives by several sectors of the Cuban government and the Cuban Communist Party. This development comes on the heels of an ongoing parliamentary discussion that will recognize same sex marriage and a lengthy public discussion that examines the past oppression of gays and lesbians.

But much more has to be done. First on the agenda is the repeal of draconian antigay laws like Article 299: "pederastia con violencia". It makes illegal an undefined offence that includes consensual sex and mandates penalties of from eight years imprisonment to death. Another, Article 303a: "importune a otro con requerimientos homosexuales," or creating a "public scandal" prohibits public touching, fondling, kissing and cruising. If someone, for instance your average homophobic cop happens to take offense and makes an arrest the penalties can range from three months to a year in jail.

These laws and their enforcement by bigoted police and prosecutors mirror the situation in the US and the EU. They need to be repealed and be replaced by a “hands off” policy that emphasizes total acceptance of our rights.

It’s common knowledge that the Cuban government and Party first encouraged and then tolerated homophobia. Both institutions need to launch an educational campaign to explain why homophobia is wrong and why it’s important that the GLBT communities have their own press and journals, venues like dance clubs and bars, and the unhindered right to form GLBT organizations of all kinds.

Wouldn't it be rich if Cuba became the new, affordable place for US T people to go to have SRS? Kind of the Western Hemisphere's version of Thailand?

Can you imagine the tourism dollars for Cuba? I know "medical tourism" is a significant source of foreign exchange for Thailand, India, and other nations. Why not Cuba, too?

I bet the results and after-care will be top notch.

"Would you like fries with that...?"


It's still illegal for a US citizen to travel to Cuba without special dispensation from the US government. Cuban authorities don't stamp US passports for this reason. Obama has talked about lightening this restriction, but it still has not been done, and weakening our insane embargo laws would likely face significant Congressional opposition, though this is one more reason to reconsider our current Cuba policy.

True bitter. The Cuban base in Florida is a huge stick they use to keep opposition strong. They'd pitch a fit.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 10, 2008 8:57 AM

If conditions were so ideal in Cuba (Waymon, where are you?) why would Floridians not know a week without hearing about Cubans being intercepted at sea before hitting land so that they could stay in the United States. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy has kept many thousands of Cubans in Cuba who would dearly love to leave. I am skeptical that this is not manufactured news from Raoul's central committee. Not even 100 people since 1979?, and a whole 27 have had procedures? What does one have to do to be trans in Cuba?

Polar, cancel the airline tickets!