Can Cuba change the way it treats homosexuals through state-funded sex change operations?

REMEMBER WHEN CUBA threw all those homosexuals into “re-education camps”? Well, probably not, considering it happened after the revolution of 1959. But apparently Fidel feels pretty bad about it, and now Cuba is making strides to put things right.

Sorta.

Recently, the country celebrated its first legal “gay” marriage between Ignacio Estrada and Wendy Iriepa, the latter having undergone gender-reassignment surgery and now being legally a woman. She was actually the first candidate to have the sex change operation funded by the state since it became a part of the country’s universal health care system, and the whole thing makes the perfect loophole for gay marriage.

Is it actually a solution? The wedding was aimed at “advancing gay rights in the country,” but what if someone doesn’t wanna be a woman? What if someone doesn’t wanna be a dude? Can you actually find love so powerful you’ll actually change your sex? Estrada and Iriepa seem to think so…they met just three months ago.

Naturally the media descended on the story in a frenzy (guilty!), making sure to highlight the fact that Estrada has AIDS. But I’m most curious to know whether or not this will actually change the global perspective of Cuba. Will tourism receive a boost?

Tourism was on Mexico City’s mind when it made the move to legalize gay marriages last year, and the final decision was at least partially influenced by an expected rise in visitors. Since then, 1000 same-sex marriages have been registered, and 6% of those couples were foreigners.

But for Estrada and Iriepa, their marriage is still a heterosexual one, and will remain so in the eyes of Cuba. Or maybe I’m just bitter because Iriepa is hotter than I am.