‘Unable to learn’ – Transgender schools in Latin America offer a fresh chance

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10/06/2020

MEXICO CITY (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As a transgender girl growing up in Buenos Aires, Viviana Gonzalez dreamt of being a writer, composing poems to console her mother who fled Gonzalez’ abusive father. But when Gonzalez tried to enroll in secondary school at age 12, she said she was rejected because her name and gender identity did not match her legal documents that listed her as male. “The system achieved what it truly sought – to stop me from dreaming, aspiring and demanding my necessary education,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Unable to learn, I stopped writing.” Gonzalez’ story is common across Latin America, where transgender people are regularly confronted by conservative social norms, discrimination and abuse that often limits their access to formal education. Only about a quarter of trans women finish secondary school, and one in five never finish primary school in Latin America, according to a 2017 report from regional advocacy group REDLACTRANS. Trans women “flee their schools,” said Yren Rotela, a trans activist in Paraguay.

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