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 name change in Ecuador sets legal precedent


Diane Rodríguez, director of Silueta X

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

Diane Rodríguez, the director of Silueta X, fought the campaign after being told by her local registry office that such a change was not possible. Citing the anti-discrimination passages enshrined in Article 2 of Ecuador’s new constitution, which was voted in during 2008, Diane 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 Diane 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 normalisation of the name-changing process.

Silueta X is a key ally for the Alliance’s advocacy work with transgender people in Ecuador. Diane, along with other activists, Rashell Erazo and Estrella Estévez have been working for years to strengthen their organisations, promote respect for their human rights, improve access to health services, and reach a high level of involvement in debates relating to the new constitution.  

Diane says: “The fight continues. I am going to finish my transition, marry my boyfriend and adopt three children. But to progress I have to find a job like every biological woman. I am going to be the first transgender woman to be employed by a big company which accepts and includes me. People have to understand that they are committing a serious mistake when they deny us a way to earn a living without taking the risk of being murdered though sex work or dying through AIDS.”

She continues: “We are the martyrs of society but this will end with our generation because we are building the way so that future generations do not end up in the streets, adding to the increase in HIV rates as our generation has done. Society still has time to give us a chance.”

Transgender people are among those at highest risk of HIV infection in Ecuador and their situation is made worse by widespread discrimination.  

Since 2008, organisations representing Ecuador’s transgender population, such as Silueta X, Alfil, Red Trans and FUTPEN, have been receiving technical and financial support from Kimirina Corporation, an NGO that receives financial contributions from international organisations including the Alliance.

This year, Kimirina, with the transgender community, has been developing political advocacy and promoting prevention initiatives on HIV and sexually transmitted infections. 

    We are the martyrs of society but this will end with our generation because we are building the way for future generations