Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mexico: Transgender man weds transgender woman

As The Washington Post reported last night, in a publicly announced ceremony, transman Mario del Socorro married his transwoman sweetheart Diana Guerrero and gained full marriage rights by using their birth-names to register their partnership ("Mexico transgender couple ties the knot, pushes law").

According to The Post, the couple decided to marry in order to raise awareness about a proposed Congressional bill which would allow access to sex change procedures at public hospitals as well as the right to change names and genders in public records.

"At the end of the day, it's a marriage between a woman and a man, so what's the problem with blessing this union in the eyes of God?" Guerrero's sister told The Post.

Same-sex civil unions have been legalized in two Mexican regions, the country's capital and the northern state of Coahuila, but they do not give full marriage rights to same-sex couples, a reason why the couple said they opted to use their original names to register for marriage instead of a civil union.

On the eve of the wedding, web portal said that some Mexican gay activists were less than thrilled.

Lol Kin Castañeda, President of the Mexican Pride Committee (COMAC), the entity that is in charge of Mexico City's annual pride march, said that the wedding would be an LGBT landmark "if the wedding was between an activist recognized for his / her achievements and not only someone who seeks personal gain."

COMAC also decided not to include the wedding in its listing of events planned to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) which also took place yesterday and was observed at many cities worldwide.

del Socorro, who is a member of the Pro Transgender and Transsexual Rights Citizen's Front, which was established just last year, told that he wasn't one to fight over "a bone."

"To many we are not important, as transsexuals we are invisible and they will give us visibility."

The bone in contention was a previous offer made by COMAC to the bride and groom of featuring them as the first couple to engage in a civil union which the couple dismissed as meaningless.

Part of me can't help but be in awe of the couple's masterly way to co-opt both the issue of same-sex marriages and civil unions in Mexico as well as events that were planned to commemorate IDAHO. I also realize that if the gay rights movement in the United States sometimes leaves the transgender movement behind, I imagine it's worse in Mexico and that they - and others elsewhere - might feel that they drew a trump card against the marriage narrative which sometimes leaves transgender rights behind.

But by the couple's own admission, this press stunt was not at all about marriage and all about trans rights, which is all great and stuff and I might have applauded if done on a different date. But when it's so clearly planned to undermine advances in the recognition of same-sex partnerships in Mexico, that's a whole different thing.

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