The International Trans Fund (ITF) calls on the Government of Uruguay to support the human rights of trans people and reject the call for a referendum on August 4th, 2019. The Government must challenge the campaign of misinformation and the deliberate fear mongering against the trans community.
In October 2018, Uruguay became an international beacon of human rights by passing the Integral Law for Trans Persons which was rooted in compassion, respect and the promotion of dignity of trans people. This progressive piece of legislation affirms the identity of trans people and supports their access to life saving medical treatment, including young trans people who are particularly vulnerable and need support. The law took a pro-active approach to supporting trans people by mandating that 1% of government jobs be reserved for trans people and establishing a pension to compensate transgender people who were persecuted during Uruguay’s 1973-1985 military dictatorship. This law is in line with international human rights best practice such as Yogyakarta Principles plus 10, a set of principles based on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The current misinformation campaign and backlash facing the trans community in Uruguay is disturbing and dangerous. The call for a referendum to repeal this law is based on the malicious targeting of the trans community and the false assertion that this law gives “preferential treatment” to trans people and is unconstitutional. This approach does not espouse democratic principles and fosters hatred, violence and discrimination against this marginalized community.
We also want to express our solidarity with Colectivo Trans del Uruguay and all of civil society in Uruguay who are fighting this injustice. The majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority. The political function of rights is to protect minorities from oppression by majorities. Trans people are valuable and contributing members to Uruguay society and need to be supported through upholding their human rights.
Masen Davis and Ymania Brown
Co-Chairs of the International Trans Fund