In the US, the Trump administration is considering ways to erase trans people from federal law.
In Uruguay, something very different just happened, and the contrast couldn’t be starker.
The Uruguayan congress passed a law Thursday (Oct. 19) massively expanding rights of transgender people, the Associated Press reported. The new law defines gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy as a right, and ensures those treatments will be paid for by the Uruguayan state. It also reserves 1% of jobs in the government for transgender people, and sets up a fund to pay reparations to transgender people who faced persecution when the country was under a military dictatorship from 1973 to 1985.
“[P]olice and the state detained and tortured trans people during the dictatorship of the 1970s and 80s and these tactics continued into the democratic era,” Tania Ramirez, an employee of Uruguay’s Ministry of Social Development, told Marketplace.
The law has been in the works for more than a year, Marketplace reports. It was drafted after a 2016 government census found that 75 percent of trans Uruguayans didn’t finish high school and a quarter are cut off from their families. The country has a small population—just under 3.5 million people—and the survey found that 873 of them were willing to identify on a census as transgender.
In the US, which has a population of nearly 326 million people, roughly 1.4 million adults identified as transgender as of 2016.