14 | OCT | 2019
Gender identity and freedom
Sign pointing to a gender neutral restroom in New York – Photo: Mike Segar/REUTERS

Gender identity and freedom

Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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It's evident that the progress achieved so far isn't enough; we need action plans with specific measures to address the needs of transgender people

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Having a sex change can be one of the hardest experiences a human being can go through. To the whirlpool of biochemical and physiological changes to the body and mood, we have to add the fact that this individual becomes the object of violence, stigmatization, exclusion, discrimination, and harassment in virtually all levels of society, from education and to medical.

Thus, respecting and protecting the rights of transgender people is still a pending matter worldwide, despite there has been social and legal progress in Europe, the United States, and some Latin American countries, including Mexico.

Transgender people are still owed the assurance that their basic rights will be respected. Today they are still one of the most vulnerable groups in the world, as they are the main targets of hate crimes and face overwhelming levels of poverty and violence.

Something which should concern us as Mexicans is that most murders of trans people in the latest period happened in Brazil (171) and Mexico (56). In Europe, Turkey (44) is the country with the most cases. France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain are the main destinations of transgender migrants from Africa and South America, and there were murder cases in those countries as well. In the United States, for instance, transgender people are one of the minorities most harassed. The combination between transphobia, misogyny, and racism is a combination which awakens the most brutal and violent intolerance.

It's evident that the progress achieved so far isn't enough. We have to develop action plans with specific measures for each context to address the needs of these groups. Public visibility of transgender people should work as a way to alleviate our reality from an alarming vulnerability. We have to join efforts to set international standards and specific laws to tackle discrimination against trans people and which classify crimes due to gender identity.

Moreover, this issue becomes increasingly more linked to the matter of children's rights – which has added the support of children's advocacy organizations, according to experts.

In this matter, we need gender identity regulations – as it is not an illness – based on the self-determination of people. There are some notable examples of this, like Norway, where they break taboos and children as young as 7 can legally change their gender, with the consent of the parents.

The next step is to advocate for the legal recognition of gender, based on self-determination.


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