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The struggle of the LGTBIQ+ community to guarantee respect and recognition in their identity documents. Photo: Javier Quispe Arcasi.
The struggle of the LGBTQ+ community to guarantee respect and recognition in their identity documents. Photo: Javier Quispe Arcasi.

Peru's Gender Identity Law advances in Congress after four years of obstacles

This week, Peru approved the Gender Identity Law and will now be debated in Parliament for an eventual final approval.

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The Peruvian LGTBQ+ community celebrated that after more than four years of waiting, the Gender Identity Law bill presented to Congress was approved in the parliamentary commission by four votes in favor and two against.

Congresswomen Rocío Silva Santisteban, Carolina Lizárraga, Mónica Saavedra, and the independent parliamentarian Arlette Contreras — main promoter in Peru of the feminist movement Ni Una Menos — added the necessary votes to achieve the approval. 

The bill seeks in principle to advance in terms of guaranteeing respect and recognition of the identity of a trans person, both from the Peruvian State and from civil society.

The law will ensure that transgender people can change their name and birth identity before the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status — a basic right that until now has been denied. The bill clearly states that "every person is equal in dignity, with full recognition of their gender identity, no one should be subject to discrimination, harassment, penalization or denial of services because of their gender identity."

This "bureaucratic" problem on the surface, which denies trans people an identity document that reflects the identity with which each one defines themselves, is the main problem for this trans community in Peru and leads to other social difficulties such as access to employment, or school bullying, which in turn has repercussions on the mental health of transgender people.

The congressional candidate Gahela Cari spoke out on social media. 

"Today we celebrate a first step. The bill will pass to the floor. Guarantees for our lives should not be up for debate. It is up to us to demand our rights with more strength. No one stops us!" wrote Cari, who is emerging as the first trans congresswoman in Peru.

The approval of this bill will now depend on the full Congress, which is also working to ensure the development of Peru's general elections on April 11. Both the Ombudsman's Office and Amnesty International expressed their support for the approval of the legislative initiative "without delay" by the full Congress.

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