Mariela Castro

Who’s Helping Cuba’s Transgender Community Get the Government to Pay for Surgery? The President’s Own Daughter

Cuba’s Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro, is the most visible gay rights advocate on the island. Whether that means Cuba will see a gay pride parade anytime soon is one question, but for now how about settling for state-sponsored gender reassignment surgeries?

After Cuba lifted the ban, in 2007, on the government paying for transgender medical procedures, Ms. Castro, who runs the Center for Sex Education, told reporters that surgeries began in 2008. But “less than half” of Cuba’s 30 candidates for surgery have been serviced, she says.

Cuba identified 122 people who wanted to have sex changes in 1979 and performed the first successful operation nine years later, but subsequent sex-change procedures were prohibited, Castro added.

The operations are covered by Cuba’s universal health care system, even though some have protested the decision to allow them – either because of general opposition to the procedure or due to its high costs for a developing country with economic problems.

But don’t think just anyone can just show up on Cuba’s shores and expect the government to foot the bill.

“We schedule a certain number per year based on economic circumstances,” Castro said, adding that, because of budget constraints, sex changes are not offered to foreigners who travel to Cuba for medical care.

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  • sal(the original)

    love her ,i guess she saw that strawberry and chocolate movie

  • Brian

    This is all wonderful but we must remember that Cuba is ruled as a brutal dictatorship headed by one family. It is quite amazing tht they offer this service for transgendered people but any clear thinking individual with a reasonable knowledge of Cuba knows that homosexuals and particularly transgendered people were singled out for opression and emprisonment and met torturous fates. To paraphrase Fidel: HOMOSEXUALS DO NOT HAVE A REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE TOLERATED BY TURE REVOLUTIONARIES.

    chew on that

    RIP: Reinaldo Arenas

  • chris

    Brutal dictatorship?
    We hear quite a lot about the chinese and the Iranians and the Russians complaining about their crooked governments, but never Cubans.
    Plus, they have free universal healthcare!

  • Tamara Jeanne

    Traveling to Cuba for SRS/GRS may not happen for a while, but all it would take is for Mariela Castro to realize that with the proper support to develop a good surgical team and care facility, Cuba could become a profitable alternative to have surgery for willing and “paying” foreign clients. Much like Thailand has become and Brazil and Argentina are becoming. The cost of travel would be more affordable too. they could package the whole thing with a caribbean cruse too. Who knows? it could happen, but then it might not.

    Personaly, I’d rather go to Colorado, nice scenrey, a one day drive and good a doc. Or go to Thailand, cool temples love the food and several good docs. It’ll be a few years before I can afford to make that journey.

  • Lukas P.

    @Tamara Jeanne: If you hear that Cuba is offering discounted hair transplants, call me!

    And, being serious here, Trinidad Colorado is justly famous for SRS/GRS, and as a good place to transition — as you very likely know. Not much to do there otherwise but it has wonderful scenery. And very good chili!

    Thailand might have better options for anyone seeking good food and nightlife, but many US seniors are going there for hip/knee replacements and a cosmetic tweak or two. Or nine.

    Cuba is still a repressive dictatorship and a country rife with homophobia, but even dictators get some issues right on occasion. They have lower infant mortality than the US, or so I’ve heard

  • anonymous

    It really amazes me how, regardless of the vicious attacks such as poisoning the sugar crops and embargoes meant to do nothing else but cripple them, Cuba never relented from it’s universal health care coverage and free education for ALL of it’s citizens.

    I have heard about Trinidad, Colorado and it’s significant transgender population and wonder what is the economy like there. Does anyone know what the majority of these trans-genders do to support themselves post op that chose to live there?

  • ousslander

    the reason you don’t hear them complaining is because they would be jailed if they did. Gays are still routinely harrassed and jailed. NOt to mention how many have been executed by dear Mariela’s father and uncle

  • THeAwfulTruth

    The ignorance regarding Cuba here is incredible. Go there, like I have, and witness the destruction of the human spirit. It is a giant, Caribbean gulag.

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