Article: Trans Legalities – Preliminary Study of Files on the Recognition of Trans* Identities in Peru

By Carlos J. Zelada and Carolina Neyra-Sevilla

This is a summary of the article, which was published in The Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Volume 3 (2019) and is part of the LawTransform project Sexual and Reproductive Rights Lawfare: Global Battles. Full article available here.

The Peruvian legal system does not have a law that allows for the recognition of trans* identities (meaning people with unconventional gender identities) by non-judicial means. Thus, trans* persons must petition the courts to have their identities (name and/or sex/gender) legally recognized, seeking to prove by law that they are who they say they are.

In the article, the authors analyse the Peruvian context and explore the statements made in thirteen cases heard between 2003 and 2016, in which eleven trans* people asked the State to recognize their identities. Based on this study, the authors propose a novel methodology for the identification and analysis of the speeches made by plaintiffs and judges in cases involving the recognition of trans* identities in Peru.

Through this analysis the study demonstrates binary, pathologizing and genitalizing speech patterns in legal proceedings for the recognition of trans* identities, as well as a lack of reference to recent research on dynamic understandings of the principle of non-discrimination.

The authors hope this study may help the relevant authorities to finally approve a gender identity law that, in addition to proposing an administrative route for the recognition of trans* identities, once and for all prohibits the binary, pathologizing and genitalizing requirements as a condition for access to a fundamental right.