When a gay marriage isn’t gay

Foreign news stories that feature Trans issues can get confusing. There are often mistranslations and missed cultural nuances involved and this story from Cuba (BBC Link) is a good example. The headline when originally posted was “Cuba set for first ‘gay wedding’“. Which was rather incorrect and problematic, as the updated headline now illustrates: “Cuba gay man and transgender woman marry“.

For clarification: She’s a post-op transwoman. So it’s actually a straight marriage.

So, where did the “gay” come from? It’s not clear. Appropriation by the local LG community? If so, and the translations are accurate, the groom at least seems to be part of it:

This is the first wedding between a transsexual woman and a gay man,” Mr Estrada, 31, said.

“We celebrate it at the top of our voices and affirm that this is a step forward for the gay community in Cuba.”

But there is some confusion on the matter even in Cuba:

Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who acted as a godmother at the ceremony, said that while the marriage was not technically a gay wedding “it is the closest we have come”.

I don’t know if there’s possible mistranslation from the Spanish going on here – do the Cubans have a word for “bisexual”? Or are transwomen just viewed as “gay men” over there? Either way, the original “gay wedding” headline certainly did not read well in this country.

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