Trans People in El Salvador: "For them we are not human"
In February 2022, the constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling advancing the rights of the country’s embattled transgender community. It ruled that the constitutional clause barring discrimination based on sex encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, and that El Salvador’s law governing legal name changes must allow trans people to modify their legal name in accordance with their gender identity. The court gave the Legislative Assembly one year to make the necessary reforms.
This jurisprudence, grounded in international human rights law, was a welcome breakthrough for transgender people in a country where trans activists have for years denounced the high levels of discrimination that their communities face and pushed to gain legal gender recognition. To give the court decision full effect and address the ongoing harms faced by trans individuals, the Legislative Assembly should not only implement the constitutional guarantee in law, but also recognize the right of trans individuals to change their gender marker, a critical step not yet addressed by the constitutional chamber.
Transgender people in El Salvador face discrimination,
harassment, and violence because their physical
appearance and identity don’t match the name and
gender on their IDs.
My name is Grecia.
My name is Nelson.
My name is Arlette.
In February 2022, the Supreme Court of El Salvador
ruled that the constitution protects against
discrimination based on gender identity.
It said trans people have a right to their chosen name.
When I went to vote, four different poll workers called me by the name on my ID.
Because I am a trans woman, I didn't have access to a decent education.
Now that classes are online my legal name is always on the screen,
I’ve had to come out to everyone.
I have not seen a doctor for the last two years.
If I get sick, I self-medicate, or find a way to pay for a private doctor.
During the pandemic, I had the flu. Everyone told me to see a doctor. I preferred to stay at home.
Two years ago, I was going to have a pap smear. I was almost denied the service.
In health care centers they always call out my name according to my ID. It's humiliating.
When I transitioned, all employment doors were closed to me
They look at your document and say...
“I know you meet the criteria, but we don’t hire people like you.”
I went as a woman to claim my remittances...
The cashier did not want to assist
me after examining my document.
“You look like a man. Why don’t you put makeup on? You are pretty. Why don't you let your hair grow?”
They take the document and show it to other people. I am the object of ridicule.
For them, we [trans people] are not human.
The legislature should respect the Supreme Court
ruling and reform the law to allow a trans person to
legally modify their name. The law should also
allow them to change the gender marker on their IDs.
July 18, 2022News Release