The Uruguayan government announced Monday that it is considering a bill that would serve as an affirmative action plan, as well as pay reparations to transgender citizens as recompense for past grievances.
Uruguay, which has a roughly 70 percent economic freedom rating and is politically and economically volatile, acknowledged that the state has treated its trans population poorly and is now taking action to amend its past wrongdoings.
“When I was a kid I was a target because I was flamboyant and feminine, it was horrible, and it didn’t end with the dictatorship — the persecution continued into the 1990s,”43-year-old transgender Sandra Valintold Market Place News.
Following a push from transgender people like Valin, the government created a package of proposals designed to improve treatment of the transgender community.
The government followed up by announcing Monday that it is considering an affirmative action proposal for transgenders that will allow them to not only change their names and sexes on official documentation, but will also provide scholarships to trans members so that they can more easily receive schooling. If the proposal passes, it would also give all transgenders born before 1975 a monthly pension in an effort to make up for the hardships transgenders have endured.
“Trans people don’t reach old age,” said Ministry of Social Development worker Tania Ramirez, explaining that trans people often do not live to an advanced age due to the intense mental and physical persecution they face. “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.”
A 2016 government census determined that 873 Uruguayans identify as transgender out of the country’s 3,458,443 total population. The census also said 75 percent of Uruguayan transgenders didn’t finish high school.
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