Panama’s Gender-Based Quarantine Ensnares Trans Woman

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04/03/2020

When Panama announced it would implement a gender-based quarantine schedule in response to COVID-19, transgender activists were alarmed. And with reason: on April 1, police detained a transgender woman alleging that she was male and out on “the wrong day.” The Ministry of Health’s quarantine measures allow women to do essential shopping on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while men are only permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. No one is allowed out on Sundays. The measures also restrict the time of day people can leave their home depending on the last digit of their national identification card or passport. The ministry describes this as “the simplest procedure” to reduce the number of people on Panama’s streets. Not so simple for Bárbara Delgado. She left her house on Wednesday morning, a women’s day, outside of the allotted time for her identification number, to attend a medical center near her home, where she volunteers as a health outreach worker.

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