One percent of civil servant jobs in Argentina are now reserved for members of the trans community. The government decided this by decree on Friday. The ambitious quota is intended to improve the vulnerable position of transgender and transvestites in the South American country. That seems necessary because half of them are less than 40 years old.
“As a government, we are obliged to guarantee civil rights and provide equal opportunities. The trans quota is an important step in that direction,” said Minister for Women, Gender, and Diversity Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta. “The life expectancy of trans people and transvestites is only 40 years in the 21st century,” it still sounds.
Low life expectancy has been linked to discrimination and high school dropout, with an estimated 90 percent of Argentine transgender and transvestites working in the informal circuit. No less than 95 percent ends up in prostitution, according to LGBT advocacy groups.
The one percent rule theoretically employs 13,000 people from the trans community, but Minister Gómez Alcorta assumes around 4,000 jobs in the first phase. These are jobs with the federal government, which currently employs some 1.3 million Argentines. Previously, several municipalities and provincial governments in the South American country already took similar initiatives.
To ensure that the job requirements of the government jobs do not immediately lead to exclusion, applicants who do not have the necessary training or skills may still acquire these through the government. They are given the opportunity to retrain so that they can grow in the position.
According to senior official Alba Rueda, in charge of gender issues, the law is a real breakthrough: “It guarantees job opportunities, health insurance, and retirement. In this way, we can build a sustainable life for ourselves and our families,” Rueda tells the state press agency Télam.
In Argentina, discussions had been going on for years about possible quotas for the trans community. Still, a law passed by Congress was not yet reached. President Alberto Fernández also shelved the legalization of abortion.
Still, Argentina is known in the region as a very progressive country. It was the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010.
In 2012, a special gender law was even introduced, which gives residents the right to choose the gender indicated on the identity card – without the intervention of a judge, psychologist, or doctor. This law also applies to minors. For example, Lulu, who was born 13 years ago as a boy, has been recognized by the government as a girl since 2013.
Since then, all health insurers have also been obliged to fully reimburse gender reassignment treatment if the client requests it.
The country has been praised by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, which writes in its most recent country report that “Argentina continues to make progress in protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”.