EntertainmentPeru faces outcry over classifying transgender identity as mental disorder

Peru faces outcry over classifying transgender identity as mental disorder

Peru faces outcry over classifying transgender identity as mental disorder
Images source: © Getty Images | Carlos Garcia Granthon

8:47 AM EDT, May 16, 2024

The government of Peru has officially changed its legal regulations, now classifying transgender, nonbinary, and intersex individuals as having mental health disorders. This decision has triggered extensive backlash from supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte sanctioned the decree that categorizes "transsexuality" and "gender identity disorders in children," among others, as mental health issues. The list also includes "dual-role transvestism," "fetishistic transvestism," and "other gender identity disorders."
According to the Peruvian Ministry of Health, this adjustment aims to "guarantee a full range of medical care in the field of mental health" for transgender people. It insists, however, that it won't compel transgender individuals to undergo conversion therapy.

The LGBTQ+ community opposes Peru's decision

The decree has encountered vehement opposition from LGBTQ+ rights advocates around the globe. Jheinser Pacaya, the director of OutfestPeru, vehemently stated that Peru's trans community will tirelessly fight until the decree is withdrawn. He criticized the government's priorities, noting the incongruity of attacking transgender individuals over a century after the decriminalization of homosexuality in Peru in 1924.
The LGBTQ+ rights organization, Red Peruana, has also slammed the government for further marginalizing the Peruvian trans community, arguing that the policy reflects an antiquated perception of gender identity.
Medical researcher Percy Mayta-Tristán from Universidad Científica del Sur in Lima highlighted the lack of understanding surrounding the complex challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community within Peru's deeply conservative society. He warned that categorizing them as mentally ill paves the way for harmful reparative therapies, a practice he deems as completely unacceptable.
A 2023 Ipsos poll revealed that 81 percent of Peruvian citizens recognize the significant discrimination faced by transgender people in their society.

Possible protests during Pride Month

This controversial new classification has also been criticized for the absence of dialogue with the LGBTQ+ community it directly impacts. Transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney expressed her alarm, having previously shared her positive experiences in Peru, which included a sense of safety and societal kindness. Given the timing of this legal shift near Pride Month in June, the LGBTQ+ community in Peru is contemplating protests against this discriminatory move.
Peru classifies transgender people as "mentally ill"
Peru classifies transgender people as "mentally ill"© Getty Images | Carlos Garcia Granthon
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