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04/19/2007


Diana Nyad Forced to End Swim from Cuba to Florida

Tweet_nyad

Sixty-one-year-old Diana Nyad, who yesterday set off to break an open water swimming record from Cuba to Florida was forced to give up her pursuit after 26 hours in the water, CNN reports:

Nyad, who is 61, struggled through ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma Monday before she was forced to give up the 103-mile swim. Strong winds and less than ideal currents played into her decision, her team said.

"Earlier in the evening, she was surrounded by dolphins and a beautiful Caribbean sunset. But strong currents blew her 15mph off course," her team posted on her Twitter account.

The attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida was the second for the swimmer, who said at a news conference Sunday that she is fitter today than she was in 1978, when she first attempted the crossing but was unable to finish.

Said Nyad: "I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call."

Previously...
Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO [tr]


Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO

Nyad

Sixty-one-year-old former world-record holder and out lesbian swimmer Diana Nyad set off on a 103-mile swim today across open water from Cuba to Florida, through the Straits of Florida. Nyad is swimming without a shark cage. If she completes the swim, she'll be the first to do it without the cage.

Nyad played 'Reveille' on a bugle before plunging into the water and beginning her swim.

Nyad2 Said Nyad earlier in the day: "I also want it to be a moment for thousands, and I dare say millions of people my age, who are going to look and say, '60!' The joke is 60 is the new 40, and it's true. We are a younger generation than the 60 that went before us."

The AP adds:

Nyad will be relying on special equipment that surrounds her with an electric current imperceptible to humans but strong enough to keep most sharks at bay. Whitetip sharks are not deterred by the field, so divers will be standing by to gently discourage any of those who get curious - without harming them.

In 1979, Nyad set a world-record for open water swimming without a cage, on a 102.5 mile swim from the Bahamas to Florida.

Watch the beginning of her swim, AFTER THE JUMP....

Continue reading "Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO" »


Cuba to Consider Civil Unions?

Cuba

Is Cuba on the verge of considering civil unions?

The announcement was made by Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro and the director of Cuba’s national sex education center, during an interview with Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser earlier this month. Castro, the island’s leading gay rights advocate, said Cuban authorities are already studying the proposal in preparation for the upcoming Community Party conference on Jan. 28.

“This is a historic opportunity, and I think we’re close to having draft legislation,” said Castro, who also revealed in the interview that gay Cubans can serve in the military. “We’ve been working on this issue for a long time, with a lot of activism. We’re starting to see results and a political solution.”

Previously...
Independent Groups Hold Gay Pride 'Stroll' in Havana [tr]


Gay Cuban Man to Marry Transgender Woman as Birthday Present for Fidel Castro

Iriepa_estrada

A gay man is set to marry a transgender woman in Cuba on August 13 in Havana, on Fidel Castro's birthday, to send a message to the leader who persecuted gays and lesbians at the beginning of his revolution, Latin American Herald Tribune reports:

Cuba Wendy Iriepa, a 37-year-old who underwent a sex-change operation in 2007 on the island, and Ignacio Estrada, a 31-year-old gay man who is seropositive, will marry in an open ceremony that they hope will mark a “before and an after” in Cuba with dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez as matron of honor.

“We met on May 13 of this year and we always intended to get married three months later,” Estrada – who considers himself gay but had fallen in love with Wendy, now a woman – said.

But the couple also decided to tie the knot on the “controversial” date of Aug. 13 to coincide with Castro’s 85th birthday and emphasize the “gigantic” step their union will signify for the island’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual, or LGBT, community.

Castro, in an interview a year ago, acknowledged the homophobic persecution gays and lesbians suffered in Cuba at the beginning of his revolution, and he admitted his responsibility for not paying “enough attention” to the deed that he called a “great injustice,” Estrada said.

Reuters adds: "The couple has scheduled their free, state-authorized nuptial ceremony at an official 'wedding palace' in Havana, complete with cases of beer courtesy of the socialist state."


Independent Groups Hold Gay Pride 'Stroll' in Havana

A Gay Pride "stroll" organized by groups independent of Cuba's "pro-government LGBT groups controlled by Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela" took place in Havana yesterday:

Havana Waving rainbow colored flags, dozens of LGBT activists and supporters joined what was described as Cuba’s first gay street demonstration not sponsored by the government in recent memory. The event drew a strong police presence but went off without incident.

Leannes Imbert, whose Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Observatory organized the event, had said that she was inviting everyone, even Mariela Castro, to the stroll — not a protest or a march because those might have required police permits.

But the event was clearly designed to highlight differences with the “official” LGBT groups backed by the first daughter, who has argued that Gay Pride parades are “protests” not needed in Cuba because the country’s laws protect gay rights.

Cubans have marched for gay rights before, but Mariela Castro was directly involved.

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez writes about yesterday's event here.

Video of the march, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Independent Groups Hold Gay Pride 'Stroll' in Havana" »


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