Argentina Goes Further To Protect LGBTQ Rights With New Law On Trans Employment

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08/08/2021

NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks to reporter Daniel Politi in Buenos Aires about new Argentine laws designed to help trans people find employment. LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: For years, Argentina has been at the forefront of legislation protecting and expanding LGBTQ rights. It was the first country in Latin America to legalize both same-sex marriage and adoption. It was also first in the world to allow people to change their gender on legal documents without permission from a doctor or a judge. Now, Argentina is going further. In June, the country passed a new law establishing a quota for transgender people holding public sector jobs. Joining us now to explain is Daniel Politi. He is a reporter based in Buenos Aires. He writes regularly for The New York Times and Slate. Welcome to the program. DANIEL POLITI: “Thank you very much.” GARCIA-NAVARRO: “What does the new quota for transgender workers actually mean? How will it work?” POLITI: “Well, the law establishes a 1% quota, meaning that 1% of all public sector jobs should be held by trans people. So the way that they’re starting to set it up is they set up a registry where people can sign up to be considered for these jobs. What makes this law particularly interesting and what activists had been pushing for is that the requirements to get the jobs will be slightly different. For example, education requirements that are minimums to get certain public sector jobs may not be considered for this population. Also, things like criminal records can be excused, if you will. So there’s a certain leeway, if you will, to recognize that the trans population has lived hardships that maybe did not allow them to get the same kind of education and the same kind of experience in the workforce than other workers.” GARCIA-NAVARRO: “How did that number, 1%, come to be? I mean, is that a realistic figure? Are there any statistics that show how many people are transgender in Argentina?” POLITI: “That’s a good question. And the truth is that no, I mean, the 1% number is largely symbolic. There is no real accounting for how many transgender people there are in Argentina. And the 1% figure was a way to symbolize that they’re going to be part of the government. They’re part of society.”

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