[Marxism] DPA: Brazil, Cuba to provide free sex-change surgery

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jun 7 07:56:31 MDT 2008

Brazil, Cuba to provide free sex-change surgery
June 7th, 2008 - 5:08 am ICT by IANS


Brasilia/Havana, June 7 (DPA) Brazilian and Cuban
authorities are to provide free sex-change operations as
part of their healthcare plans. In Brazil, the Federal
Medicine Council has approved sex-change operations since
the late 1990s, but the procedure could only be conducted
in the private healthcare system at a very high cost. The
government will now begin paying for the operations, local
media reported Friday, citing President Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva and Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao.

In communist Cuba, sex-change surgery was authorized for
the first time, and it will be offered free of charge,
sources at the National Centre for Sexual Education
(Cenesex) told DPA Friday.

The Brazilian minister announced that country’s move late
Thursday alongside Lula, as they opened the first National
Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and
Transsexuals being held through Sunday in Brasilia.

Gomes Temporao said the move is in accordance with the
government’s homosexual rights policy.

“It is one more step towards the consolidation of that
policy, in which Brazil is a world leader,” he noted.

Lula said the state’s refusal to pay for such operations
would amount to “discrimination”.

“When you pay your taxes, nobody asks you which is your
sexual option. Why discriminate against you when you freely
choose what to do with your body?” Lula said.

Gomes Temporao said the surgery will initially be performed
only in state university hospitals in large urban areas.

The move in Cuba was announced by a source at Cenesex,
which is headed by Cuban President Raul Castro’s daughter,
sexologist Mariela Castro. It was said to be part of the
framework of a programme for the “integral” care of

The resolution by the Public Health Ministry is operational
but has yet to be formally made public. The document was
signed earlier this week by Public Health Minister Jose
Ramon Balaguer, and stipulates the “creation of a specific
health centre for transsexual people,” the sources added.

Mariela Castro said recently that a 28-person waiting list
for sex-change operations has already been approved in
Cuba. The only instance of such surgery so far in Cuba was
in 1988 and received so much criticism that the programme
was called off.

Cuban specialists are currently preparing alongside Belgian
colleagues, and it was not known when the surgery would
start to be performed on the communist island, Mariela
Castro said as she celebrated the International Day Against
Homophobia last month.


     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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