Thousands of Uruguayans demonstrated Friday on the main avenue of Montevideo under the slogan "Struggle and resistance" in a new edition of the March for Diversity to demand greater rights for transsexual people.
The marchers waved flags of the LGTBI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex) community as they departed from the central Plaza Independencia to the headquarters of the University of the Republic. The organizers read a proclamation and various musical groups performed.
The focus of this year's march was to push the government to adopt a comprehensive law for transgender people. The law is currently being reviewed by the Commission on Population, Development and Inclusion of the Senate.
Colette Richard, an activist from the LGTBI community, told EFE that the legislation has several "thematic centers" covering education, job placement and access to health services.
Richard said the most important aspect of the law was that "it speaks of transsexual people without considering it as a pathology."
"We are not sick people, the law would be the lever to reach the full enjoyment of rights," Richard said.
Paula Contini, a member of the transgender community, told EFE that the March for Diversity is a "very good way to claim" the rights that LGTBI collectives have acquired in recent years.
In Uruguay, a bill passed in 2015 allowed homosexual couples to have the same rights and duties as heterosexuals, such as same-sex marriage, adoption, the society of goods, pension rights and reciprocal aid, among others.
Since 2009, Uruguay has also allowed sex and name changes in identification documents.
However, the transsexual community, which amounts to about 900 people according to the first census conducted in 2016, still faces difficulties.
The 2016 census showed that 67.6 percent of the transsexual community is dedicated or has dedicated at some point in their lives to sex work, since the labor situation is precarious due to discrimination.
In this sense, Contini said it is "very difficult to access a job" and the "only way out" that transsexual people envision is "sex work."
For the same-sex couple Mario Bonilla and Ruben Lopez, Friday's march is a "celebration for all."
"What we are noticing is that every time it is celebrated more, it is not only about respect and tolerance, it has to be the celebration, inclusion and recognition of us all as unique, unrepeatable and diverse people," Ruben reflected.