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Peru’s New Rule on Transgender Health Care Draws Backlash

WorldPeru’s New Rule on Transgender Health Care Draws Backlash

The bulletin appeared without much fanfare in an official government newspaper in Peru that publishes new laws and regulations. Peruvian health officials say they had no idea the response it would trigger.

They say they wanted to expand access to privately insured mental health care for transgender Peruvians. So the government decree included language classifying transgender identity as a “mental health problem.”

But as news of the regulation filtered out, it provoked outrage among the country’s L.G.B.T.Q. population and advocates.

Many critics said the rule was another blow in a country where gay marriage and civil unions are illegal; transgender identity is not legally recognized; there is no legislation recognizing hate crimes; and trans Peruvians say they face widespread discrimination and violence.

“What they’re doing is labeling an entire community as sick,” said Cristian González Cabrera, who researches L.G.B.T.Q. rights in Latin America for Human Rights Watch.

But health officials said that the anger and backlash was the result of miscommunication and that they had not intended to offend trans people.

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