‘Who are you?’ asked the worm to Alice in Wonderland.
This is not an easy question. People can spend their whole life trying to find the answer, identity is something which is a human's right to define, that allow us to get closer to an answer of who we are. Identity: a beautiful word and an essential right that includes a set of attributes to make our pass through life and our interaction with others easier.
We have the right to be named, respected and loved for who we want to be and not how the rest think we should be. When your sex matches with the person you see yourself as, this is not so difficult. However, when you're a transgender, your story is different, not only because you're challenged to find yourself despite the image in the mirror, but also because, if you're brave enough to live publicly beyond the prison of your own body, you will be, for sure, prisoner of prejudice about your identity. This is not fair or right.
As a citizen who is part of the National Union for the approval for a Gender Identity Law, I am convinced that in a so called democratic society, identity needs be a wide and easy right for every single citizen- especially for those who choose to define themselves beyond their sex. Transgender people today have awful life conditions: they live isolated, stigmatized and without chances for studiying; it's impossible for them to obtain a formal employment; they are always being questioning for everyone because who their ID says they are, is not who they live as.
The projected law seeks to end the stigmatization of transgender people; they are not crazy, subnormal, pedophiles, prostitutes, drugs addicts or AIDS carrier just because of their situation, as many people assume. The law also states they have the right to a legal identity- on their ID for example- that agrees with their chosen gender regardless if it matches with the biological sex. Under the law, they will have the right to be called by the pronoun that agrees with the identity they have given to themselves, no matter if they have received a previous surgery to change their sex.
Authorities from the Catholic Church, the official religion of Argentina, have argued that the project of law violates the natural order of society and each person has the obligation to live according to the sex they were born. I say, there is no risk in recognizing that transgender people should have the same right non-transgender people have: to be in this world as who we are. The natural thing is to be yourself; the natural order is equity, not discrimination, and the freedom to decide for oneself. Through this law, they will have their dignity back and equal access to the same opportunities citizens have in this country. No more, but never less.
I think the answer about who we are belongs only to each one of us. The law must give a legal frame to a basic right in a society; this society where we, the people, are equal and free to choose the culture, religion, marital status and racial identity we want. Freedom of expression and choice are the foundations upon which our society is built; why leave gender out of the enjoyment of equity?
“Where there is a need, there is a right” said Eva Peron, and this statement also pertains to human rights. We can overcome ignorance and prejudice. I am a conscious citizen with the right to stand up for myself and say I’m Hispanic, Muslim, Feminist, Chilean, Immigrant, Mother…and Woman. And I declare the choice was mine completely. I built the human I am from my freedom to change and my right to choose; why deny others that right just because they are transgender? Gender aside, you decide who you are.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future 2012 Assignments: Op-Eds.