Outcry in Peru as Insurance Law Labels Transsexuality as “Mental Disorder”

Outcry in Peru as Insurance Law Labels Transsexuality as “Mental Disorder”


The government of Peru has issued a decree of insurable health conditions. This also includes mental health services. Anger sparked when transgender people were classified as having “mental disorder”.

In Peru, the capital Lima was filled with rainbow flags with various activists and protestors came up to raise their voices against new governmental laws. Amid the protests, the governmental officials are uptight for not making any amendments. They have clarified their respect for gender diversity and signify this law to provide adequate care for all sections of society.

Who are Transgenders?

Biologically a person exhibits his/her sex. Gender is the role taken up. That is, a female physiologically has female sex traits, her gender is feminine. If a person feels different gender that his body is born into, a psycho-social conflict situation may occur, this is what transgenders feel, trapped in a sex not identical to their gender.

Why are Peru activists protesting?

Classifying a section of a community having a mental disorder, which is itself considered inapt by WHO is where the issue lies. Gender dysphoria is indeed a condition that is considered psychological. Transgender people can face this, especially in the early stages of self-awareness and acceptance. But labelling this psychological condition as a mental disorder for a whole community is felt offensive and disrespectful, as described by the LGBTQ activists in Peru. There can be a high prevalence of mental illness because transgender people have to struggle more with their social struggles. However, this societal acceptance is an extrinsic risk factor that is perceived differently by each individual apart from their community. 

What is Transphobia?

When people disregard and discriminate against people who are identified as teenagers, it is transphobia. Transphobia is quite common across all cultures. What is the psychological interpretation of this? Society has a set of norms that are followed by convention. When it is seen that the decided gender roles are not followed, a feeling of being threatened can manifest for people who are rigid about societal structures. The Social Identity Theory describes how everyone takes up their gender role. Concerning social conventions, people tend to construct their norms and identity, this line between society and self can get mixed up. People who then categorize themselves as transgender not only threaten people on societal terms but get extended to personal sense as well.

Read More: Why Are People Homophobic?

How to deal with Transphobia?

It is okay to feel displeasure with the transgender community at an early stage due to alignment with a social construct. However, it is important to realize that gender identity is not a choice. Transgenders do feel trapped in their assigned sex from birth. It is a part of the identity which cannot be changed by choice. Everyone has the right to have a positive self-image and accept who they are, be it cis-gender or transgender. With a lack of acceptance from the environment, transgender have to struggle way more. It is on us to keep humanity first before any social construct and enhance acceptance not only for transgenders but all LGBTQ+ community.

Transphobia in India:

With Indian society having a rigid societal structure from ancient times, many transgenders have suffered discrimination more than just a bias but even physical and mental abuse. Along with the use of derogatory terms, they are often forcefully involved in prostitution. Many transgenders have come up about their struggle, often being disowned by their own family. But we have taken a lot more steps like the government of India initiating the provision of third gender and quota in educational and occupational sectors. With a lot of steps taken, a lot more have to be established to completely ensure social as well as psychological perception for transgenders to have positive acceptance.

Citations +
  • Anger In Peru Over Insurance Law Classifying Transsexuality As “Mental Disorder” (n.d.). NDTV.com. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/anger-in-peru-over-insurance-law-classifying-transsexuality-as-mental-disorder-5688926
  • ET HealthWorld & www.ETHealthworld.com. (2024, May 19). Peru protesters slam new insurance law that deems transgender people mentally ill. ETHealthworld.com. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/peru-protesters-slam-new-insurance-law-that-deems-transgender-people-mentally-ill/110251182
  • Blair, K. L., PhD. (2020, December 12). Recent research explores the link between the gender binary and transprejudice. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inclusive-insight/201809/what-precisely-do-transgender-people-threaten
  • https://nhrc.nic.in/sites/default/files/Study_HR_transgender_03082018.pdf

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