Alexander Sanger to be biologically pro-life, one must be politically pro-choice
Home Bio Book The Sanger File Contact
Transgender Rights in Latin America

The Fight for Transgender Rights in Latin America

Recently, the highest court in Italy allowed a couple to remain legally married after one had sex reassignment surgery. In a surreal twist, the Catholic Church recognizes the couple as still married also, because it does not recognize gender reassignment. While it is hard to call this confluence the best of all possible worlds, it might be for now. The rights and freedoms of transgendered persons in other parts of the world, such as Latin America, are decidedly less clear.
Some countries, like CubaBrazil, and Uruguay, lead the way and allow people to legally change their gender in official documents after varying conditions are met. Places like Brazil and Chile are even ready to foot the bill for sex reassignment surgery. One of the most progressive laws in all of Latin America, however, is that of Argentina, which allows people to change their gender by filing some paperwork without surgery or a diagnosis.
The law was used immediately, even by children as young as six, such as in the case of Luana. Lulu, as she likes to be called, was originally named Manuel and was born with the body of a baby boy. Her mother noticed something was different about Luana when she started identifying herself as a girl the moment she started talking. When the law took effect, Luana's mother stood by her daughter while she requested that the government officially change her gender to female. Luana is now the youngest Argentinian to take advantage of the law, and she will be followed by many more.
These progressive laws offer hope for the future, but they belie a harsher reality that many transgendered people face. Latin America accounts for nearly 80 percent of reported murders of transgendered individuals. While legal progress has been made, homophobic and transphobic violence continues in the region, with people regularly being attacked or murdered for their gender identity. In Colombia alone, there were 60 reported murders of transgendered individuals between 2005 and 2012 and no convictions. It is not unheard of for police to deliberately ignore violence, or even to refuse to help a transsexual in the middle of an attack.
Many transgendered people, whether by their own volition or because of a lack of familial support and employment opportunities, become sex workers. Transwomen in the trade are particularly vulnerable. Clients, police officers, and medical professionals are far more likely to abuse and ignore them, so transwoman sex workers are highly at risk for HIV and are less likely to get any treatment once they have contracted the disease. As recently as 2006, 62 percent of deaths in the Buenos Aires transgendered community were attributed to HIV/AIDS.
The violence and preventable diseases are discouraging, but we shouldn't lose hope. The people who volunteer for us and our Member Associations work tirelessly -- in their advocacy and the provision of services -- to uphold the tenets of our Declaration of Sexual Rights. Among the rights laid out in our Declaration is the right to equality and freedom from discrimination based on sex, sexuality, or gender; the right to security of person and bodily integrity; the right to the benefit of modern medicine; and the right to accountability and redress in the case of wrongdoing.
IPPF/WHR and our Member Associations in the Caribbean and Latin America, work every day to guarantee these rights and educate people about, and provide services for, the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, reaching the most vulnerable populations and educating them about their options. In the beginning of our efforts to reach marginalized communities in Lima's red light district, for example, sex workers were liable to grab free condoms and run away from our health promoters for fear of abuse. Now, with the help of kindness and acceptance from our staff, they feel safe and trust us with their healthcare and sexual education.
The battle for sexual rights must be waged in the legislatures and courts and in the streets. We will not rest until every person is guaranteed and enjoys their sexual rights and freedoms. 

A special thank you to Julia Redden, for her collaboration in the creation of this piece.
» Link to this post

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Alexander Sanger
Alexander C. Sanger, the grandson of Margaret Sanger, who founded the birth control movement over eighty years ago, is currently Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council.
Mr. Sanger previously served as the President of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) and its international arm, The Margaret Sanger Center International (MSCI) for ten years from 1991 - 2000.

Mr. Sanger speaks around the country and the world and has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.

Beyond Choice
Beyond Choice
The new book by Alexander Sanger published by PublicAffairs

Purchase from

Click here for full book information

With reproductive freedom in jeopardy, Alexander Sanger, grandson of renowned family planning advocate Margaret Sanger and a longtime leader in the reproductive rights movement, has taken an urgent, fresh look at the pro-choice position—and even the pro-life position—and finds them necessary, but insufficient. In Beyond Choice he offers the first major re-thinking of these positions in thirty years.

“Well researched and readable, Beyond Choice should be required reading for both pro-choice and pro-life supporters.”
—Governor Christine Todd Whitman


» Much more on Beyond Choice, including an excerpt, discussion guides, reviews
The Sanger List
Sign up to receive updates and news from Alexander Sanger
External Links
» Eugenics, Race, and Margaret sanger Revisited: Reproductive Freedom for All?
Hypatia, Indiana University Press
Recent Press
» Abortion in the Spotlight [PDF]
Tina Morlock, Oklahoma City Pioneer

» Advocate: Abortion does involve morality
Paul Swiech, The Pantagraph

» Planned Parenthood founder: Republican Party is pro-choice
Elaine Hopkins, The Journal Star

» Women's Studies seminar covers controversial topic
Jamie Smith, The Daily Vidette

» Luncheon promotes teen responsibility
Dahlia Weinstein, Rocky Mountain News
Blog Archives
» January 2004
» February 2004
» March 2004
» April 2004
» May 2004
» July 2004
» September 2004
» October 2004
» November 2004
» December 2004
» February 2005
» March 2005
» April 2005
» June 2005
» July 2005
» September 2005
» October 2005
» November 2005
» December 2005
» January 2006
» February 2006
» March 2006
» April 2006
» June 2006
» November 2006
» February 2007
» July 2007
» September 2007
» November 2007
» January 2008
» February 2008
» March 2008
» May 2008
» September 2008
» October 2008
» December 2008
» June 2009
» July 2009
» September 2009
» October 2009
» November 2009
» January 2010
» February 2010
» April 2010
» May 2010
» October 2010
» November 2010
» December 2010
» January 2011
» February 2011
» May 2011
» July 2011
» October 2011
» November 2011
» December 2011
» February 2012
» April 2012
» June 2012
» September 2012
» October 2012
» January 2013
» February 2013
» April 2013
» May 2013
» June 2013
» July 2013
» November 2013
» January 2014
» March 2014
» May 2014
» July 2014
» December 2014
» March 2015
» April 2015
» May 2015
» June 2015
» July 2015
» September 2015
» October 2015
» December 2015
» January 2016
» February 2016
» April 2016
» May 2016
» June 2016
» August 2016
» October 2016
» November 2016
» December 2016
» January 2017
» February 2017
» March 2017

 Subscribe in a reader
External Links
» International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region

» UN Goodwill Ambassadors

» The Margaret Sanger Papers Project, NYU History Dept.

» When Sex Counts: Making Babies and Making Law, by Sherry Colb