Progress on transgender health care in Chile

By Jack Harrison, Task Force policy analyst

Last week we reported on the huge leap forward for transgender Argentinians and congratulated the activists there as well as in the other South American countries of Uruguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia, for their wins in the global movement for trans equality. Soon after that announcement, we received word from another neighboring nation, Chile. Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual, a Chilean LGBT organization, has completed talks with the Piñera government that resulted in assurances that trans Chileans will begin being able to access transition-related care including surgeries through the country’s socialized healthcare system starting in 2013. Our congratulations therefore go out again to Latin America, to MOVILH, as well as groups like the Organization of Transsexuals for Dignity and Diversity, who have long worked for trans rights in Chile.

Both of these victories, in Chile and Argentina, serve to underline the fact that what is best for trans people is often what’s best for all people where access to transition-related care could be made accessible through a system that already guarantees healthcare for all citizens. That’s why we at the Task Force use a broad progressive frame when we think about the question of what constitutes an LGBT issue. In particular it’s why we’ve been such champions here in the US of the Affordable Care Act.

This announcement comes on the heels of another LGBT win in Chile, wherein gay men will be allowed to donate blood, a right which sadly remains out of reach in the US.