LGBTQ+ Community Outraged As Peru Classifies Transgender, Nonbinary, And Intersex People As ‘Mentally Ill’

Government officials in Peru announced that they will classify transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people as “mentally ill.”

The Peruvian Health Ministry says that the controversial decision was made to ensure the country’s public health services could “guarantee full coverage of medical attention for mental health” for the LGBTQ community, the Telegraph reports.

The decree signed by President Dina Boluarte will change the language in the Essentials Health Insurance Plan (PEAS) to reflect that trans and intersex people have mental disorders. Conditions that will be recognized as mental health disorders include “transsexualism,” “dual role transvestism,” “gender identity disorder in childhood,” “fetish transvestism,” and “ego-dystonic sexual orientation.”

However, LGBTQ+ people will not be forced to complete reconversion therapies, Peru’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) said in a statement.

“The sexual orientation and gender identity of a person does not constitute in itself a physical or mental health disorder and, therefore, they should not be subjected to treatment or medical care or to so-called reconversion therapies, as established.”

LGBTQ activists slammed the new law calling it a major step backward in the fight for their rights. 

“Besides the ‘new Section 28’ in England, today is also a very sad and revolting day for the LGBTQ community and human rights advocates in Peru,” an X user said.

“After years after the decriminalization of homosexuality, the @Minsa_Peru has nothing better to do than to include trans people in the category of mental illnesses,” Jheinser Pacaya, director of OutfestPeru, wrote on X.”

Percy Mayta-Tristán, a medical researcher at Lima’s Scientific University of the South, said that this decision displayed a lack of awareness about LGBTQ+ issues. 

“You can’t ignore the context that this is happening in a super-conservative society,” he told The Telegraph. 

“Officially pathologizing LGBT people in Peru may seriously undermine efforts to improve rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Mayta-Tristan said.

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