Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Transgender activist wins legal fight

1
MAY
2009

Aids Alliance

The transgender women’s group Silueta X in Ecuador has broken new ground in enabling transgender men and women to change their name legally, from masculine to feminine and vice versa.

The Director of Silueta X, Diane Rodríguez, fought a campaign after being told by her local registry office that such a change could not be made.

Citing the anti-discrimination passages enshrined in Article 2 of Ecuador’s new constitution, Rodríguez took the case to the Office of the Ombudsman which, in turn, took up the case with the director of the national registry office. This resulted in Rodríguez and four other members of the group receiving new identity cards within a week of the appeal.

It is expected that this legal precedent will result in the normalization of the name-changing process.

“And the fight continues,” says Diane. “I am going to finish my transition, marry my black race boyfriend and adopt three children with him. But to progress I have to find a job like every biological woman, and I am going to be the first transgender employed by a big company, which accepts and includes me.

“People have to understand that they are mistaken, that they are committing a serious mistake when they deny us a possible way to earn a living without resorting to sex work: to die murdered by a depraved person, or to die murdered by HIV/AIDS.”

Silueta X is a key ally for the Alliance’s advocacy work with transgender people in Ecuador. Alliance linking organisation Corporación Kimirina is working with RedTrans, Futpen and Alfil LGBT organisations to enhance respect of transgenders’ human rights, improve their access to health services and combat stigma and discrimination. The Dutch organisation Schorer also supports this campaign.

Transgender people are among those worst affected by HIV in Ecuador. Discriminatory treatment increases their risk of infection.

“We are the society martyrs,” says Diane, “but this will be over with our generation because we are the ones that are opening the way out, so that the new generations do not end in the street and become a factor in the growth of HIV as our generation has.”