Greetings from Latin America


With new victories come new challenges. I saw this clearly on my recent trip to Chile, Uruguay and Argentina with María Mercedes Gómez, IGLHRC Program Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Chile, we met with Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD). OTD is at the forefront of HIV testing, hormone therapy and counseling for trans and intersex Chileans. Its director, Andrés Rivera Duarte, spearheads the organization’s campaign for a gender identity recognition bill.

We also met with Judge Karen Atala. You may remember that last year the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a historic ruling against Chile for denying Karen custody because of her sexual orientation. The Court ordered the government to provide training to judges and prosecutors to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But more than 18 months later, adequate training has yet to commence!

We were fortunate to also meet with the Iguales Foundation, Acción Gay, and Libertades Públicas, among others. Many spoke passionately of the need to strengthen the flawed but important 2012 anti-discrimination law. We tried to reinforce their messages in meetings with the Ministry of Justice and with an advisor to past-President and current presidential candidate, Michelle Bachelet.

In Uruguay, we celebrated with Ovejas Negras the recent adoption of progressive laws on same-sex marriage, comprehensive sex education and the inclusion of trans-specific services in general healthcare. Now, Ovejas Negras faces the hard work of turning good laws into good practice.

In Argentina, activists, students and academics convened at the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society Conference to address how to translate legal and judicial advances into safety, security and dignity of LGBT people in our everyday lives.

With warmth and solidarity,

Jessica Stern

PS. View our slideshow of photos from these organizations »