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Uruguayan lawmakers pass law granting rights to trans people

The law grants transgender people the right to get an operation that matches their sexual identity, paid for by the State, and ensures a minimum number of transgender people are given public jobs in the next 15 years.

Monday 22 October, 2018
Activists listen to legislators during a session in which the Integral law for Trans People in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Activists listen to legislators during a session in which the Integral law for Trans People in Montevideo, Uruguay. Foto:AP/Matilde Campodonico)

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Uruguay's Congress has approved a law that guarantees rights to the country's transgender community.

Lawmakers in the lower house Chamber of Deputies voted in favour of the measure late Thursday night, with 62 votes of the 88-member chamber. The "Comprehensive Law for Trans People," which aims to combat discrimination and promote gender equity, had already been approved by the Senate. 

The law grants transgender people the right to get an operation that matches their sexual identity. It will be paid by the Uruguayan state along with hormone treatments. The text also establishes mechanisms to facilitate modifications to identity documents.

The law also ensures a minimum number of transgender people are given public jobs in the next 15 years. It mandates that one percent of government jobs be reserved and establishes a pension to compensate transgender people who were persecuted and imprisoned during Uruguay's 1973-1985 military dictatorship.

Transgender persons born before December 31, 1975, who "were victims of institutional violence" and "discriminatory practices exercised by the State" because of their gender identity will be entitled to the benefit.

Deputy Martín Couto, of the ruling Frente Amplio coalition, one of the defenders of this law in the lower house, described the law as a "milestone" that would "make minorities that have been marginalised visible."

The bill must still be signed into law by President Tabaré Vázquez.

- TIMES/AP/AFP

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