Transgender People Denied Equal Rights 2022
Transgender People Denied Equal Rights.
Pay attention to Supreme Court ruling; create legal gender recognition program
(New York) – Transgender people in El Salvador face severe discrimination in their daily lives because there is no legal gender recognition process, Human Rights Watch and COMCAVIS TRANS said in a report released today. The Legislative Assembly should abide by a recent Supreme Court ruling and create a simple, effective process for trans people to accurately reflect their self-declared gender identity on identification documents.
The 40-page report, “‘We Just Want to Live Our Lives’: El Salvador Needs Legal Recognition of Gender,” exposes widespread discrimination against transgender people due to mismatches in their gender and identity documents. The researchers focused on discrimination in four key areas: health, employment, voting and banking. Human Rights Watch and COMCAVIS TRANS found that a lack of accurate documentation, often combined with anti-trans bias, severely hinders trans people from realizing these rights.
“El Salvador’s Supreme Court has made it clear that trans people have rights over their identities, and it is time for the Legislative Assembly to stand by its ruling and guarantee the rights of trans people,” said Christian Gonzalez, a LGBT rights researcher at the Human Rights Watch. Cabrera. Thus, trans people will continue to be deprived in society and will be exacerbated by the violence and widespread discrimination they face in all areas of their lives. ”
In February 2022, the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled that the constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and gave the legislature a year to develop a procedure so that transgender people can change their name on identification documents. In order to fully comply with international human rights standards and minimize discrimination, the Legislative Assembly should also allow transgender people to modify gender markers in their documents through a simple, efficient and inexpensive administrative process based on self-declaration.
To understand and document the harms of lack of legal gender recognition in El Salvador, Human Rights Watch and COMCAVIS TRANS interviewed 43 transgender people in San Salvador, San Luis Tarpa, Santa Ana, Santa Tecla, La Union, and Zacatecoluca Remotely.
In August 2021, lawmakers, working with transgender groups, proposed a draft gender identity law that would create a legal gender recognition process, but members of the parliament’s women and gender equality committee have yet to discuss it. In May 2021, the same committee blocked a similar bill submitted by the previous Legislature in 2018, along with 29 additional bills on various other issues, claiming they were “inconsistent with reality.” Transgender activists have sharply criticized the move.
Most transgender people interviewed told the researchers that they were discriminated against when visiting public healthcare facilities. They said clinic staff exposed them as transgender by shouting out their legal names in the waiting room, subjected them to onerous questioning about their identities, and humiliated and ridiculed them.
Respondents also described their job-hunting experiences where potential employers realized they were transgender when looking at their documents. In some cases, potential employers explicitly told trans people they would not be hired because they were trans.
Most of the transgender people interviewed said they faced obstacles in obtaining bank deposits and remittances from family members living abroad, with bank employees questioning their identity because it did not match their documents.
Many of those interviewed said their right to vote in the February 2021 election was not hindered in any way. But two trans women said they were not allowed to vote because their identification documents did not match their gender, while several others said they could vote but faced questions that left them humiliated.
A growing number of countries in Latin America have established legal gender recognition procedures, such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay, offering simple administrative procedures based on self-declaration. The president of neighbouring Honduras recently announced that the country would make the necessary reforms to allow the right, based on a landmark 2021 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a case involving Honduras.
In 2017, the Inter-American Court of Justice, which interprets the American Convention on Human Rights, affirmed that states must establish simple and effective legal gender recognition procedures based on self-identification, rather than intrusive and stigmatizing requirements.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which El Salvador is a party, provides for equal civil and political rights for all, the right of everyone to be recognized before the law, and the right to privacy. The UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, called on governments to guarantee the rights of transgender people, including the right to legal recognition of their gender.
In 2017, El Salvador’s government acknowledged in a report that LGBT people face “torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, excessive use of force, unlawful and arbitrary arrests, and other forms of ill-treatment, much of it even by police officers.” A 2021 Human Rights Watch report confirmed El Salvador’s government’s assessment and found that social and economic marginalization further increases the risk of violence or corruption, making trans people particularly vulnerable to abuse.
“El Salvador has a historic debt to the trans community, and the establishment of a legal gender recognition process can begin to address this problem,” said Bianka Rodríguez, executive director of COMCAVIS TRANS. “Until our self-determination, dignity and freedom are recognized, we will continue to Be the object of social violence and discrimination.”
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