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  • Transgender women in Guatemala receive supplies to cope with quarantine, March 26

    Transgender women in Guatemala receive supplies to cope with quarantine, March 26 | Photo: Twitter/@nomadagt

Published 31 March 2020

The trans community is often made invisible from the media, discriminated against in political management and dismissed as decision-makers in their communities and living spaces.

Several social organizations in defense of the rights of transgender people denounced the lack of protection of this community as they face COVID-19’ spreading in Latin America.

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One of the reasons is that the number of victims, sick people and suspected cases due to the virus are only given from the binary and heteronormative conception of gender, that is, men and women. This perspective discriminates and marginalizes trans people who suffer from the COVID-19 and who assume non-conformist gender options. 

In the region, due to  a strong Catholic tradition, religious institutions condemn non-heteronormative gender choices. This not only makes trans people invisible in official discourse and objectifies their existence, but also isolates them from the churches' campaigns for aid and protection.

 This is the case of Uruguay, where the Catholic Church promoted a legal project to repeal the Integral Law for Trans People in January. This law recognizes and attributes benefits to trans people and provides pensions in cases of incapacity for work or states of emergency. 

On the other hand, systematic discrimination against trans communities has led them to unorthodox ways of life. Many trans women turn to sex work as their only livelihood option, which means they cannot comply with the established quarantine, social isolation and therefore are a population at risk from COVID-19.


Furthermore, they suffer the consequences of violating traffic restriction measures on the public highway. These conditions make trans people highly vulnerable to the threat of the virus in Latin America. According official statistics, between 80 and 90% of trans people in Latin America are homeless.

For their part, Indigenous trans women suffer discrimination in several instances, not only because of their gender choice but also because of their ethnic origin, which leads to social discrimination. In Colombia, they are grouped in remote rural communities that have no health or social services to address the coronavirus and other illnesses.

Beyond this situation, some initiatives advocate for the protection and visibility of trans people in Latin America. This is the case of the organization MISS TRANS CHILE, which demystifies the image and corporeality of trans people. The Sexual and Gender Diversity Front in Chile also provides its users with information about the virus, health instructions and a hotline for those who need help.

In Chile, the organization Movilh Chile denounced crimes against trans people in 2020, which in addition to physical violence, include gender violence, many of them during the period of greatest impact by the COVID-19. In its report, the organization explains that 92% of victims do not report their aggressor.

Members of the Socialist Workers' Party in Argentina have also requested the inclusion of trans people in their official websites, especially for those living on the streets, in overcrowded conditions and precarious housing. The community organization Otrans in Guatemala provides medical supplements to trans people. They also distribute antibacterial gel, towels, and other accessories.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

En tiempos de coronavirus la población travesti y trans es una de las más vulnerables. Los empresarios capitalistas quieren preservar sus ganancias mientras las mayorías populares intentan sobrevivir y las medidas del Gobierno resultan insuficientes en este contexto. Daniela Ruiz es activista y directora de 7 Colores Diversidad afirmó : "Lo más importante es que la situación de vulnerabilidad es grave. En esta cadena siempre nos ponen en el último orejón del tarro y una de las grandes preocupaciones es que muchas hermanas no pueden ir a las zonas rojas ni tampoco puede cumplir la cuarentena. La mayoría son de otras provincias, no pueden pagar alquileres, son expulsadas por su familia y demás. El gran miedo que tienen es llegar a los albergues donde quedan expuestas a una situación de abandono. Además no hay tarjetas alimentarias, no hay y de haber deberían tener contempladas a nuestra comunidad" En Argentina existe la Ley de Identidad desde el 2012, una inmensa conquista lograda en las calles que permitió el cambio registral de más de 10 mil personas. Sin embargo eso no es suficiente. Que no se cumpla el cupo laboral trans pensado por Diana Sacayán, y que no se respete el artículo N° 12 de la Ley de Identidad deja a las travestis y trans en una situación más que vulnerable. Si bien en Argentina la salud es pública, eso no garantiza que realmente sea un derecho para todos, todas y todes. Hasta el día de hoy existe una asamblea que exige sus hormonas, denuncia los faltantes no sólo de estos tratamientos sino también de antiretrovirales para personas que tienen HIV/Sida y oncológicos. En esta situación de crisis global y pandemia nos parece importante que se tomen medidas de fondo para resguardar a los sectores más desprotegidos y con menos oportunidades de la sociedad. Llevamos 8 días después de cuarentena declarada por el Poder Ejecutivo y no se escuchó nada respecto a la población travesti y trans. Nuestras vidas valen mucho más que sus ganancias, es momento de que las prioridades se reviertan. ¿Puede alguien pensar en la población trans y travesti? Podría ser #LaIzquierdaPropone Que se cumpla el cupo laboral trans urgente! Habilitar hoteles (...)

Una publicación compartida de Pan y Rosas Córdoba (@panyrosascba) el

Presentes Agency denounced on its official Twitter profile the evictions of trans gender people in Córdoba, Argentina, despite the government's ban on such actions. Also, the Lactrans network, which defends the rights of trans people in the continent, denounces that the health crisis caused by COVID=19 reveals flaws in the health system and the marginalization of certain sectors of the population, including trans people. 

The trans community is often made invisible from the media, discriminated against in political management and dismissed as decision-makers in their communities and living spaces.

Every March 31 is celebrated internationally as Trans Visibility Day, to raise awareness about the trans community, recognize their rights and mitigate social, political, media and gender discrimination.

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