Protesters march in Peru against new insurance law that deems transgender people mentally ill

Hundreds of protesters marched in Lima, Peru, on Friday to demand the repeal of a new law that categorizes transgender individuals, among others, as having mental illnesses to qualify for health benefits. Around 500 demonstrators carried banners with slogans such as “No more stigmas” and “My identity is not a disease.”

The controversial law, approved last week by President Dina Boluarte’s government, classifies transgender people, cross-dressers, and those with “gender identity disorders” as having diagnosable “illnesses” eligible for mental health services from public and private providers.

The march reached the health ministry offices without incident. Activist Gahela Cari Contreras condemned the law, stating that “gender identities are no longer considered pathologies” and accusing the government of infringing on LGBTQ+ rights.

Critics argue that updating the PEAS health regulations was unnecessary since existing rules already provided universal access to mental health services. Government officials claimed the controversy was a misunderstanding, insisting the law aims to ensure comprehensive health coverage without stigmatizing LGBTQ+ individuals.

Despite these reassurances, protesters and some medical experts remain unconvinced. Pedro Riega Lopez, dean of Peru’s CMP medical college, argued for an amendment to the law, stating there is no need to include outdated diagnoses in health insurance plans.

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