Section 6. Discrimination and Societal Abuses
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Leaders of civil society organizations reported that despite the legal advancement of LGBTQI+ issues, societal discrimination remained high. NGOs also reported that although the law establishes the right of transgender persons to hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery, there were reports some health providers did not offer these options to patients, without any consequence for their lack of compliance with the law. Furthermore, civil society reported that sex reassignment surgery was available only for transgender women (male to female). NGOs reported the commission in charge of name changes was overwhelmed, which resulted in delays. The Ministry of Social Development informed that as of September the commission had received 148 applications for name changes, of which 47 had been granted.
Authorities generally protected the rights of LGBTQI+ persons. According to Amnesty International, however, the country did not have any comprehensive, antidiscrimination policy that protected LGBTQI+ citizens from violence in schools and public spaces or provided for their access to health services.
The Latin America and Caribbean Transgender Persons Network (REDLACTRANS) presented a study in 2018 showing that human rights violations against transgender women included discrimination, violence and aggression, theft, violation of the right to access justice, harassment, and homicide, among others. Discrimination toward transgender women was typically worse in the interior of the country, which tended to be more conservative and had smaller populations. REDLACTRANS reported most transgender persons did not finish high school and that most transgender women worked in the informal sector, where their social benefits were not always guaranteed. They tended to be more vulnerable to dangerous and uncomfortable situations in sexual work and were less likely to report threats or attacks. In 2016, the latest figures available, the government reported that 30 percent of transgender persons were unemployed. Among the employed, only 25 percent worked in the formal sector, 70 percent were sex workers, and the majority had low levels of education. Civil society reported it was less frequent for transgender men to be expelled from their home but that there was a high rate of depression and suicide attempts among this population. Observers also noted that, because they did not complete their education, transgender men usually had unskilled and low-paying jobs.