Peru Declares Transgenderism A Mental Illness

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by blueapples
Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 3:08

blueapples on X

Whether it's states taking initiatives to ban transgender bathroom policies and "gender affirming care" for children or companies like Target shying away form their shameless promotion of trans-indoctrinating children's clothing, resistance to the transgender agenda is continuing to gain political momentum. One of the biggest examples of this shift away from this facet of the progressive political paradigm yet has taken shape in Peru where the government has officially classified transgender people as mentally ill. Per the decree of President Dina Boluarte, transsexualism, dual-role transvestism, gender identity disorder in childhood, other gender identity disorders, and fetishistic transvestism are now recognized as mental disorders by the Peruvian Health Ministry.

President Of Peru Dina Boluarte

The decision was expectedly met with vitriol from LGBT+ groups who characterized Peru's health ministry of effectively making trans people targets for persecution. Advocates against the measure highlighted how Boluarte's decision to issue the decree on the eve of the 34th anniversary of the World Health Organization removing homosexuality from its International Classification Of Diseases, adding insult to injury and illustrating the political motivations behind the change in policy. However, it wasn't until 2022 that the diagnostic manual removed transgenderism as a mental disorder upon the recognition of the 11th edition of the ICD. Since then, many countries who have previously adopted the ICD have not revised their laws to incorporate its newest edition, including Peru.

Jheinser Pacaya, director of the LGBT+ nonprofit OutfestPeru, chastised Boluarte for advancing what he deemed an archaic political agenda that undermined the strides Peru has made since the country legalized same-sex intercourse upon the enactment of its 1924 Penal Code. “100 years after the decriminalization of homosexuality, the @Minsa_Peru [The Peruvian Health Ministry] has nothing better to do than to include trans people in the category of mental illnesses,” Pacaya said in a post published on X.

Contrary to those reactionary claims, the Boluarte government contends that its decision to label transgenderism as a disorder was made on the basis of being able to provide those diagnosed with full coverage of their mental health treatment. The controversial disease classification will allow transgender Peruvians in need of mental health services to qualify under the benefits of the countries PEAS healthcare program. While the WHO ICD-11 removed transgenderism as a mental disorder in 2022, the PEAS healthcare program continues to base itself upon the ICD-10. Boluarte's decree expounded upon how PEAS omitted 7 disorders recognized in the ICD-10 from its parameters and would incorporate them into what is covered by the program, thus including transgenderism as a mental disorder.

An official statement issued by the Pervuian Health Ministry elucidates this rational by stating "The sexual orientation and gender identity of a person does not constitute in itself a physical or mental health disorder and, therefore, should not be subjected to treatment or medical care or so-called reconversion therapies", going on to elaborate that the "need to ensure the benefit of comprehensive mental health interventions, as conditions for the full exercise of the right to health and well-being of the individual, the family and the community" required the decree to be issued.

The official statement by the Peruvian Health Ministry explicitly addressed one of the narratives emerging from reactionary criticism against the decree in which opponents have speculated transgender citizens of the nation will be subject to conversion therapy. Percy Mayta-Tristan, a medical researcher at Lima’s Scientific University of the South spoke to this concern, stating "You can’t ignore the context that this is happening in a super-conservative society, where the LGBT community has no rights and where labeling them as mentally ill opens the door to conversion therapy." However, transgender and gay conversion therapies remain illegal in Peru. 

Despite Mayta-Tristan's contention that the LGBT community "has no rights" in Peru, Peruvian lawmakers have taken initiatives to protect LGBT+ citizens. In addition to same-sex sexual activity being legal for a century, Peru also has passed several anti-discrimination laws including those against hatespeech. Still, LGBT+ advocates warn that the growing conservativism of the Boluarte regime is cultivating a political climate that will lead to the revocation of these progressive policies.

Should that development take shape, it would mirror the evolution of Boluarte's own political career. Before being elected president as an independent, she was a member of the Marxist political party Free Peru. Boluarte held concurrent roles as Peru's First Vice President and Minister Of Development And Social Conclusion before her presidency. During her tenure as that minister, Boluarte was expelled from Free Peru by the its general secretary, Vladimir Cerrón, after she revealed that she never fully embraced the Marxist ideology of the party. Following her expulsion, Boluarte remained independent without ties to any political party. She would resign from her ministerial position in November 2022 while remaining as the country's First Vice President until she was took over as President the following month.

Although those conversion therapies remain illegal and legal protections are in place for the LGBT+ in Peru, advocates highlight what they perceive as a myriad of issues the community faces in the country which they believe have been amplified since Boluarte's election. This includes bans on transgender individuals serving openly in the military, adoption by same-sex couples, and access to in vitro fertilization for lesbians. Same-sex marriage also remains illegal in Peru.

Organizations like the Human Rights Watch have profiled the issues LGBT+ Peruvians face in the country as well. The NGO covered a highly puublicized ruling from the Inter-American Court Of Human Rights in 2023 that found Peru responsible for violating a same-sex couples right to protection against discrimination for being asked to leave a grocery store after customers complained of their public displays of affection. The complaint the couple filed reached the Supreme Court Of Peru which ultimately affirmed the lower court's decision that they failed to provide sufficient proof of discrimination. However, the Inter-American Court Of Human Rights ruled that the Peruvian judicial system placed an undue burden of proof on the same-sex couple.

While that case brought before the Inter-American Court Of Human Rights addresses issues of discrimination LGBT+ Peruvians face, the country's recent decree on transgenderism is not designed to deprive transgender individual of their rights as much as it aims to provide them with greater eligibility for mental health services. Nevertheless, the controversial nature of the decree will surely be met with challenges within and beyond the Pervian judicial system. That foreshadows an inevitably litigious response from LGBT+ advocates in Peru against the government of President Dina Boluarte. 

One high profile LGBT+ advocate who must be especially feeling the heat of Peru's decision to classify transgenderism as a mental illness is none other than controversial Bud Light brand ambassador Dylan Mulvaney. Following the fallout from an ad campaign which cost AB InBev billions, Mulvaney became the central figure of criticism against the disastrous marketing maneuver. In the fact of that criticism, Mulvaney decided to leave the country to escape the intense harassment they were on the butt end of. Mulvaney chose to flee to Peru claiming he no longer felt safe in the United States in a decision that has not aged well.

Framing the trip to Peru as something tantamount to seeking asylum was a largely performative act done by the embattled social media influencer as there is no indication Mulvaney has established residency in the country. Ironically, Mulvaney detailed how the trip to Peru was used as an opportunity to seek therapy, chronicling the use of ayahuasca and participation in other shamanic rituals to address mental health issues.

Peru's decision to classify transgenderism as a mental disorder doesn't just highlight the political manifestations of a reactionary cultural response opposing the most extreme tenets of the LGBT+ ideology. It also illustrates the complexity of constructing a robust healthcare system to effectively address the growing problems the unconditional promotion of transgenderism has caused. This includes the mental health crisis that has been fomented by ignoring the very real psychological issues transgender individuals face so that their plight can be used for political gain instead. Like bans on providing hormone blockers and sexual reassignment surgery to minors, Peru's recent decree on transgenderism is less about persecuting this group within the LGBT+ community and more-so about moving away from the myopic perspective of a complex issue that progressive advocates have held regarding the transgender populous, even if that has been at the cost of truly advocating for what is in their best interest.

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