Uruguay celebrated a landmark piece of legislation this week, when the country’s congress passed a new measure that guarantees rights to the trans community, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Under the new law, citizens are not only granted the ability to have surgery to match their sexual identity, but the operation will be covered by the Uruguayan state along with hormone treatments, noted the AP.
Additionally, the law will implement a quota ensuring that a minimum number of transgender individuals receive public jobs in the next 15 years, and establishes a pension plan to compensate transgender people who were targeted during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 military dictatorship, according to the report.
“Trans people don’t reach old age,” LGBTQ Nation quoted Tania Ramirez, of the Ministry of Social Development in Uruguay, in an earlier interview with Marketplace. “They are a vulnerable community and the police and the state detained and tortured trans people during the dictatorship of the 1970s and ‘80s and these tactics continued into the democratic era."
To wit, the average life expectancy for trans women is just 45 years old, according to Uruguay's State Health Services Administration. Another startling statistic: Two-thirds of trans people will be the victims of serious acts of violence at least once in their lifetime, reported Broadly — illustrating just how needed Uruguay's new, comprehensive trans rights are.
In 2008, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America to introduce civil partnerships, then legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.
News of the South American country’s progressive legislation comes on the heels of recent reports that in the US the Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender “as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” as well as various current protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law, reported the New York Times.