The province of Buenos Aires has approved a pioneering law requiring that at least 1% of jobs in public agencies be set aside for transvestites, transsexuals, and transgender people.
The provincial senate passed the law unanimously last week and it will go into effect in a few months.
“We are very happy because we did not think that we could get to such an important moment,” said the secretary of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in Buenos Aires, Diana Sacayán, in an interview with Télam.
In a recent report by Americas Quarterly, a publication with a focus on Latin America, Argentina was ranked second among its neighbours for the rights it gives to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens.
Gay marriage has been legal in Argentina since 2010 and in 2012, Congress passed a law that makes it much easier for people to change their gender on legal documents by not requiring gender-reassignment surgery or a diagnosis from a doctor. Since the law was approved, more than 4,200 transgender people have changed their identity on national ID documents.
The country also covers the cost of gender reassignment surgery, but LGBT people across the country are still victims of hate crimes and discrimination in the workplace.
Frente para la Victoria (FpV) Legislator Karina Nazabal, who put forward the bill, called the transgender community “one of the most historically vulnerable populations in the country” in an interview with El Dia.
“The reality of this group is marked by prosecution, exclusion and marginalisation,” she said. “They have great difficulties gaining access to equal opportunities and treatment and the majority lives in extreme poverty, deprived of economic, political, social and cultural rights.”
Despite recent advances, transsexuals still have a life expectancy less than half the national average in Argentina.
The law will affect the provincial government, government agencies, state owned companies, municipalities, companies subsidised by the state, and those which have contracts from the state to provide public services.
“Everyone is entitled to decent and productive work, to just and favorable conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment, without discrimination based on gender identity,” read the law.