Trans visibility: vulnerabilities in the national and international scenario

Posted in: 03/31/2022

The International Day of Trans Visibility is an important date to raise awareness and reinforce the need for respect and equity , strengthening the fight and giving visibility to the cause.

After all, only very recently have trans people begun to gain some space, as well as public policies aimed at them. And this scenario can still vary greatly from country to country, both positively and negatively.

It is important to highlight that the term “ Trans ” is used to define people who do not identify with the gender assigned at birth, with no gender or with more than one of them. That is, your biological sex does not match your gender identity . Trans people are considered: transgender, transsexual, transvestite, non-binary and agender people.

Even with advances in relation to the reception and inclusion of trans people in society, largely the result of the struggle for trans visibility and greater representation acquired over the years, they are still few and slow. Unfortunately, we are far from the level of inclusion necessary to avoid prejudice and, mainly, violence against transgender people.

Brazil advances in relation to trans visibility, but still holds a negative record

The national scenario presents advances in relation to trans visibility – with transvestites and transgender people gaining greater presence and participation in politics , in the media and in communication vehicles , which generates greater debate on the important issues involving transgender people in the country.

However, Brazil is still the country that kills transgender people the most , according to the Dossier “ Murders and Violence Against Brazilian Transvestites and Transsexuals in 2021 ”, released in January 2022 by the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra). There were 184 deaths in 2020 , representing an average of one death every two days .

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the average lifespan of the Brazilian population is 74 years . However, when we talk about trans people, that average drops to just 35 years old .

Trans Visibility. Manifestation of gender identity. Photo
Demonstration for rights for trans people. Photo:

The IBGE also points out that factors such as discrimination , low education and unemployment drive this statistic – especially when we consider that many trans people are expelled from their homes and forced to engage in prostitution to earn a living.

In 2020, Brazil had about 3 million trans and non-binary adult people , according to an unprecedented survey carried out by Unesp. This represented almost 2% of the population . And it is worth noting that these numbers were questioned by experts and organizations, who believe that the percentage was much higher.

But the formal labor market absorbs a very small portion of these people. The lack of inclusive public policies for trans men and women in the labor market and access to education leads this part of the population to put their lives at greater risk.

About 90% of trans people end up using prostitution as their main income . Among those who are employed, the majority are informal or underemployed , according to the Antra dossier.

Recently, the world scenario has presented circumstances that remind us that the cause is still advancing very slowly around the world.

International scenario and war: when vulnerabilities accumulate

Trans visibility, or the lack of it , is of great importance and can directly influence how a country treats its gay and/or transgender population.

Homosexuality is still a crime in 69 countries around the world. And when it comes to the trans population, the lack of statistics makes it difficult to analyze the scenario. But it is not difficult to imagine that prejudice is even greater. And the effects of this could be clearly seen in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine .

War, by itself, is already an event that causes vulnerabilities , especially for women and children. But the war in Ukraine has highlighted yet another scenario of dangers for transgender people .

Visibility Trans_ trans woman in the window. Photo: The Guardian
Trans women face uncertainty, prejudice and risk in Ukraine. Photo: The Guardian

In addition to the fear that trans women had of being drafted into war , many of them were prevented from crossing the country’s borders.

The bureaucracies and difficulties imposed by the government itself for trans people to officially change their documents are enormous. Therefore, many of the trans women and men take long years or give up the process.

Which, at this moment, has been an obstacle in the lives of trans women who do not have their gender identities recognized . Even when they have certificates proving their gender change, they are prevented from crossing borders and fleeing the war – since their passports and documents are still registered with the male gender . The country determined that men between 18 and 60 years old cannot leave the territory .

It is important to point out that we did not find reports or reports on how trans men are being inserted into the Ukrainian army , if they are accepted and under what conditions.

In Brazil, the insertion of the social name in the documents is guaranteed by law since 2016 .

In 2018, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) decided that transgender people have the right to use the name they choose in official documents, even without sex reassignment surgery .

Trans Visibility. Trans woman Photo: DeFato
In Brazil, the use of social name is guaranteed by law. Photo: DeFato

It is also worth noting that Ukraine does not approve of same-sex marriage , and that neighboring countries considered options for escaping the territory of war, such as Poland and Hungary, have governments that are declared to be LGBTphobic .

Facts like these clearly show us that we cannot give up the fight for representativeness , equity and respect. But they also demonstrate that we are still a long way from a society with justice and inclusion for all.

A breath of hope

In order not to end this news about Trans Visibility in such a gloomy tone, and to give a breath of hope , let’s highlight some important tips :

  • You can help change this situation, at least nationally, by thinking about it and considering your political options and the proposals of the candidates in the next elections. After all, the creation of public policies aimed at trans people is a very important step in the fight for inclusion.
  • Do you know a local trade or service that employs trans people? Support!
  • Pay attention to the benefits that companies make available to trans people, both to publicize and to charge/indicate improvements in your own company. An example of this was recently carried out by the company Vale, which authorized the health plan of its employees to cover sexual reassignment surgery .
  • And seek information about what your company is doing to help. Synergia, for example, confirmed its commitment to diversity through the development of its own Diversity and Inclusion Policy . The company also has a partnership with TRANSempregos . All of our opportunities for hiring professionals are shared on the transgender- oriented platform .
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