Also available in: Español
Source: Corresponsales Clave
By: Lídice López Tocón
At a regulatory level, the last months have brought a series of laws, technical regulations and judicial decisions that arouse the enthusiasm among the LGTBI community.
The good news and “historical days” started on November 3, 2016, when a Ministry Resolution created a Working Group to promote the rights of Gays, Transsexual, Bisexual and Intersexual people GTBI, facing a reality that had not only been denounced by the sexual diversity groups, but which was also mentioned in a report of the Ombudsman, regarding the problems affecting LGBTI people in the exercise of their fundamental rights, due to the existing discrimination and exclusion because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and to the lack of public policies to serve them.
The installation of the Working Group was attended by sexual diversity activists, congress members that have revealed publicly their homosexuality and officials from the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations.
Some weeks later, on December 21, trans women were benefited from another Ministry Resolution which approved the Health Technical Standard for comprehensive care of the trans women population in the prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. A regulation that focuses on the respect to self-perceived identity of people prevents stigma and discrimination, introducing for the first time, free of charge hormone treatment in the public health system.
The New Year also came with good news. In the first week, on January 6, 2017, Legislative Decree 1323 was released, modifying the Criminal Code and including as aggravating circumstances in discrimination crimes: sexual orientation and gender identity. Amendment that was repealed by the Congress four years ago with homophobic and religious arguments away from the laws and the Constitution.
Finally, this week the judgment of the 7th Constitutional Court became public, with the mandate to the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (RENIEC) to register the marriage of Oscar Ugarteche, well-known economist, gay activist and one of the founders of the Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL), that took place in Mexico several years ago.
All these news have been celebrated by LGTBI activists, people involved in the search of protection of human rights and by officials and organizations that work in the response to HIV.
Corresponsales Clave talked to Giovanny Romero Infante, a young and well-known Peruvian gay activist, former president of MHOL, who was not so enthusiastic about these regulations which he qualified as “weak advancements”. For Romero, they would be “uncoordinated measures that are coinciding in time; expressions of personal commitments, but not a comprehensive policy”.
Among the recent measures, Romero highlighted as the most important one, the judgment of the constitutional judge on the recognition of the marriage between two persons of the same sex, which is also the first juridical step in a battle that has been going on for at least five years.
It is worth noting that in the face of the constitutional judgment, RENIEC has stated through its officials, that it will appeal at the next level; this decision has been criticized by some activists, but justified by others whom, even though they defend equality and non discrimination, value the compliance of the constitutional process and the measures provided for therein. However Romero is not so complacent with this publicized potential appeal of the administrative authority. “RENIEC is becoming complicit (…) Prosecutors must defend the public good and the public good are the families (…) The appeal is going to create an even lengthier process, other five years at least, for the rights of Ugarteche and Aroche to be recognized.”
Certainly, the announcement of RENIEC’S appeal is striking, as last November at a public hearing where the Bill on Gender Identity was presented, the manager of such institution apologized to the Trans community for the grievances they could have suffered from such an institution. But it is likely that it was only a personal gesture, away from the institutional position, as according to Romero, RENIEC has been appealing furiously and systematically any resolution on change of name of Trans people. “RENIEC could have accepted the resolution and used the jurisprudence of other cases of recognition of marriages in other countries”, says Romero.
Regarding the Legislative Decree that includes sexual orientation and gender identity as aggravating to discrimination crimes, Romero Infante thinks it is a significant advancement that has to be reflected in specific plans, in training provided to the National Police of Peru to register and investigate properly such crimes, with prosecutors and judges prosecuting hate crimes. So, the legislative decree, the regulation, is the first step to guarantee the protection of people’s rights. In addition, this law should give rise to public policies that do not only sanction hate crimes but most importantly, prevent them.
The activist also pointed out the possible repeal of this decree, as it is a Law given by the Executive within the framework of a delegation of powers granted by the Congress. The Congress itself could repeal such a law using some arguments of unconstitutionality or stating that such an amendment was not within the framework of the delegation of powers. Then, it is important for the whole country to be vigilant of the actions of Congress in the next weeks or months.
The Technical Regulation on care to Trans women represents a “limited”advancement, says Giovanny Romero. It is a regulation that puts in writing what has been happening at the health center Alberto Barton in Callao, but limits the understanding of which should be the response from the State to the reality of Trans women, the high discrimination, violence and HIV indexes.
It is worth noting that the implementation of the regulation, which is already in force, will take place based on the resources and capacities of the health system in its different levels. This, although it forces the State to do “something”, does not establish significant duties in the short term.
Finally, talking about the Working Group promoted by the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations, Romero says that it should be a place to discuss and design public policies that also forces the other sectors to participate, to design plans, to allocate a budget for activities and to monitor their impact.
Giovanny Romero’s comments seem to spoil the party and celebration a little, whereas they give us a sense of realism and make us review the scenario so that the hangover of celebrations does not lead us to inaction.
Some steps have been taken, but many more are needed, and the movement on the rights of LGTBI people should consider a strategic coordination that will lead us to the consolidation of these minor advancements towards the full respect of dignity.
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