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Men that want to be women

Julian Sanchez| El Universal
08:58Sunday 30 March 2014

Frida thinks medical and sexual evaluations to change a person's gender should be eliminated. (Photo: JULIAN SANCHEZ / EL UNIVERSAL )

Transgender people say that the process to change their identity legally is too expensive and complicated.

Frida can't stop being called Jose Luis Garcia, and Alejandra's official name continues to be Alejandro Bustillos. Even though they both look like a woman, their ID shows they are men.

They want to be a woman legally, but this has proven difficult for them, mainly because the process to change their identity is complicated and expensive. They think the requirement of medical and sex evaluations should be eliminated.

In order to get a new ID, "they request an expert opinion and I don't think this is fair, because apart from being discriminatory, we have to pay between 30,000 and 40,000 pesos. We have to go to the doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist and get medical tests, such as hormones."

"On top of it you have to pay a lawyer for the process, that can take a long time, and even then if the judge is not convinced, he doesn't authorize the identity change. It is unfair, the process should be as simple as the one followed by heterosexuals who decide to change their name," Frida complained.

At age 30, she regrets the persistent discrimination and violence, which she has suffered ever since she was a child, and even more during high school. That is the reason for which she dropped school.

Frida says that she is not discriminated at her job, because the beauty parlor where she works is open and accessible, but others like her suffer at their workplace.

"In many places we are discriminated. For example, if you go to the doctor, when you are called everyone turns around to see you. If I show my ID, the first problem is that in the picture I had blond hair, so they tell me I don't look like in the picture. And then the name, I still have my male name in my ID: Jose Luis Garcia, but I'm Frida Garcia, that is the identity I want."

The possibility of rectifying the birth certificate became true on January 13, 2009 when amendments to the Civil Code were approved. However, lawyers charge up to 30,000 pesos for the process, and 15,000 pesos need to be added for the two medical reports required, plus the cost of the hormone treatment, a letter of no criminal record and the resolution itself. In total, transgender people need to pay around 70,000 pesos to change their ID.

According to information provided by the organization Prodiana, from 2008 to date, six people have applied to change their identity.

Laura Victoria, from the organization Transfuga, says the complicated procedure violates their individual guarantees and human rights, and considers that the requirement of a medical opinion and sexual evaluation should be eliminated.

"Compelling us to submit to a hormone treatment results in a loss of our reproductive rights, which the government violates by practically submitting us to an involuntary sterilization," she added.