Speaking out on transgender recognition

Trans activists Marcela Romero and Mitch Yusof discuss the importance of gender recognition in HIV services for transgender people

AVERT spoke to activists Marcela Romero from Argentina and Mitch Yusof from Malaysia about their cumulative 32 years championing the health, legal and social rights of transgender people. What’s changed? What needs to change? And what lessons have been learned?

How have rights and realities for transgender people in Argentina and Malaysia changed in the last couple of decades?

MR: “Before the gender recognition law was passed in Argentina in 2012 our identities were not recognized.  It’s now a law that doesn’t require a diagnosis from a doctor or another state professional. 

It’s really important to understand that gender identity is a universal right – because a person without an identity does not exist. As trans people in the world we just didn’t exist before this law.

Going forward, REDLACTRANS are working to have trans people included in political decision making process from the very beginning to ensure our needs – gender identity, comprehensive and integral healthcare and social inclusion – are respected.”

MY: “Unfortunately there has been little progress for the freedom of trans people in Malaysia. Unlike Argentina, we don’t have a law that protects our gender identity and there are even issues when we need to access general healthcare. For example, if you are a trans woman you have to be prepared to be admitted into a men’s ward or to be called by your assigned birth name rather than your preferred name.  Read more via Avert