The danger of being transgender in Latin America in times of quarantine

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04/22/2020

The trend started on April 1 in Panama, when President Laurentino Cortizo announced that men and women can only leave their homes on different days in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Peru followed suit the following day, and Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, last week. Almost immediately, the orders proved to endanger the lives of transgender, non-binary, and queer people who present as visibly gender-nonconforming. The same day the order took place in Panama, where women can go out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and men on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, police stopped Bárbara Delgado, a transgender woman, according to Humans Rights Watch. She was detained for three hours and ordered to pay a US$50 fine. That’s because Delgado’s national ID card has the “male” marker, which was assigned to her at birth. In Panama, people cannot legally change their gender on identification documents unless they undergo sex reassignment surgery. Plus, authorities have the power to request an ID card to confirm gender.

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