María Rachid.
María Rachid.

We presented an updated proposal for a new National Anti-Discrimination Law recently, a proposal that many in non-profit and activism circles have been working on for ten years. We meet in Congress periodically to chip away at progress on consensus that will lead to a law that is in tune with the times [hopefully] this year.

A new Anti-Discrimination Law will give concrete and effective answers to situations that are constantly arising all around the country. Examples that received media coverage include the charges filed by a lesbian a couple weeks ago because of an incident in the bar La Biela; the attack earlier this year on young Lautaro Blengio by the Miramar police; the constant persecution to our fellow trans community members in Salta and in the neighborhood of Constitution; or the case of young Alex Trujillo who was attacked a month ago in the City of Buenos Aires.

That is why it is important that this year a new National Anti-Discrimination Law gets passed, allowing us to strengthen our work to achieve the real equality we fought so hard for. Given that the current law does not include protection for sexual orientation or gender identity — nor disability, age, physical appearance, health status, socioeconomic status, social origin, cultural habits – as ground for discrimination we do not have adequate tools for fighting it.

The FALGBT, along with the Ombudsman’s Office for LGBT Advocacy and the Institute against Discrimination, is taking concrete action through the City’s Ombudsman’s office for each and every case of discrimination with training and legal advice, in order to continue demanding that all people and families receive the respect they deserve.

In recent years, we have made considerable progress on legislation that recognizes the rights of diversity in our country. Some of the laws that have been enacted are the Equal Marriage Act, the Gender Identity Law, the Anti-Discrimination Law in the City and the Mental Health Act, among many others. All of these constituting legislation that protects our rights and grants us equality under the law — as well as real equality — for which we have worked for so many years. A new National Anti-Discrimination Law will, among other things, extend the definition of discrimination and include reforms that will reverse the burden of proof in some cases as well as expedite claims for damages by those who are victims of discriminatory acts.

We are still fighting to eradicate discrimination and violence in our community. Legislation makes it possible for our rights are respected, but laws alone are not enough.

To achieve actual social equality, we must work everywhere, in every educational establishment, every health center, home, sporting and cultural event. This means, among other things, that the organizations working for sexual diversity can count on the state agencies responsible for managing these issues, and that they can develop and propose specific policies. Entities like the LGBT Ombudsman’s office, the Institute against Discrimination, and areas of each ministry or local government devoted to diversity, allow us to act as institutions with a true understanding of the demands of (and the problems experienced by) the LGBT population.

We should stress the importance of preventing discrimination through publicity, educational campaigns and active public policies, and through effective prosecution of those who commit discriminatory acts because we need to win this cultural battle across the country.

After many years of studies and legal analysis in the cities that are most advanced on these issues, we have arrived at a good place to draft the national Anti-Discrimination Law, which would be one of the best in the world. It is urgent to provide state agencies and judges across the country with the tools to act against discrimination and against all forms of violence in Argentina.