Peru classifies trans people as ‘mentally ill’ after government decree

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has issued a decree categorizing “transsexualism,” “gender identity disorder in children,” “dual-role transvestitism,” “fetishistic transvestitism,” and “other gender identity disorders” as mental illnesses. The decree aims to ensure comprehensive mental health care coverage but has faced strong criticism from trans groups and LGBTQ+ rights advocates.

The country’s health ministry defended the decree, stating it was necessary to guarantee full medical attention for mental health. However, it clarified that LGBTQ+ individuals should not undergo “conversion therapies,” referencing a 2021 resolution protecting against such practices.

Trans groups, including OutfestPeru and Red Peruana, have condemned the decision, viewing it as regressive and further stigmatizing the trans community. Critics argue that the policy reflects an outdated understanding of gender identity and could potentially facilitate harmful practices like conversion therapy.

Peru’s conservative societal context, coupled with limited rights for the LGBTQ+ community, exacerbates concerns surrounding the decree’s implications. An Ipsos poll indicates widespread public perception of discrimination against trans individuals, with 81% of Peruvians acknowledging significant societal discrimination against them.

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