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Uruguay: Congress Adopts New Law on Transgender Rights

(Oct. 31, 2018) On October 19, 2018, the Uruguayan Congress adopted the new Comprehensive Law for Transgender Persons, aimed at reversing discrimination and advancing the rights of this population, including the right to work, to housing, and to surgical interventions. (Uruguay Aprueba la Ley Integral para Personas Trans [Uruguay Approves Comprehensive Law for Transgender Persons], AGENCIA EFE (Oct. 19, 2018).)

The bill, which had been pending for a year and a half, was finally approved with broad congressional support and is now ready for final promulgation by the President. (Id.)

The Law eases the process necessary for transgender persons to change their names in the Civil Registry and requires the legislative, executive, and judicial powers; departmental governments; autonomous entities; and other public offices to allocate 1% of their vacant jobs to the group. (Id.)

In addition, the National Institute of Employment and Vocational Training must establish a minimum of 1% of its training programs for transgender people. (Id.)

Regarding health matters, the goal of the Law is to increase the life expectancy of transgender people, which currently stands between 35 and 40 years of age, providing specific services for the transgender population on a nondiscriminatory basis. (Id.)

One of the most controversial provisions of the Law states that children under 18 do not need authorization from their parents to change their names or receive hormonal treatment. (Id.).

According to the Law, those under 18 years of age must submit a registration request to change their names and sex accompanied by their legal representatives, or provide evidence that their legal representatives acknowledge the procedure or render their express consent by either providing evidence of their knowledge of the procedure or giving their express consent thereto. (Id.)

In the case of a minor whose legal representatives do not render their authorization, the minor may seek a judicial authorization if the court considers that granting the petition is in the best interests of the child. (Id.)

Another widely criticized measure of the Law provides that transgender people born before December 31, 1975, who prove to have been victims of institutional violence or deprived of their freedom by security forces during the 1973–85 dictatorship have the right to monetary compensation. (Id.; Pension para Personas Trans: a Cuantos Beneficia y que Monto Supone [Pension for Transgender Persons: How Many Benefit and How Much Is Due] EL OBSERVADOR (Oct. 19, 2018).)