MONTEVIDEO – Thousands of Uruguayans demonstrated on Friday on the main avenue of Montevideo under the slogan “Struggle and resistance” in a new edition of the March for Diversity that this year was marked by the demand for greater rights for transsexual people.
The march, full of colorful flags of the LGTBI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex) community, departed from the central Plaza Independencia to the headquarters of the University of the Republic, where a proclamation was read and various musical shows were held.
The main complaint this year focused on the adoption of a comprehensive law for transgender people, which is currently being studied by the Commission on Population, Development and Inclusion of the Senate.
Colette Richard, an activist from the LGTBI community, told EFE that the legislation has several “thematic centers,” including one on education, job placement and access to health services.
In particular, he said that “an important thing” of this law is that “it speaks of transsexual people without considering it as a pathology.”
“We are not sick people, the law would be the lever to reach the full enjoyment of rights,” Richard explained.
Paula Contini, a member of the transgender community, told EFE that the March for Diversity is a “very good way to claim” the rights that LGTBI collectives have acquired in recent years.
Uruguay became the second nation in Latin America, after Argentina, to approve equal marriages, under the then President Jose Mujica (2010-2015).
Its approval allowed homosexual couples to have the same rights and duties as heterosexuals, such as adoption, the society of goods, pension rights and reciprocal aid, among others.
In addition, since 2009 in the South American country sex and name changes have been planned in identification documents.
However, the transsexual community, which amounts to about 900 people according to the first census that was conducted in 2016, still faces difficulties.
The 2016 census showed that 67.6% of the transsexual community is dedicated or has dedicated at some point in their lives to sex work, since the labor situation is precarious due to discrimination.
In this sense, Contini said it is “very difficult to access a job” and the “only way out” that transsexual people envision is “sex work.”
For their part, the marriage formed by Mario Bonilla and Ruben Lopez and Friday’s march is a “celebration for all,” as Lopez told EFE.
“What we are noticing is that every time it is celebrated more, it is not only about respect and tolerance, it has to be the celebration, inclusion and recognition of all as unique, unrepeatable and diverse people,” Ruben reflected.