Violence is motivated by person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This shows the level of homophobia and transphobia that exists within Jamaican society. Transgender individuals lack access in Jamaica to hormonal and surgical treatments for transition process causing many to seek alternative methods without the aid of trained professionals. Stigma and discrimination also act as a deterrent for Trans persons accessing health care: confidentiality issues, as well as fear of losing their lives, mean that many members of the Trans community do not access sexual and reproductive health services.
If things are to improve we need to modify existing laws and legislations so as to remove legal and policy barriers such as the non-recognition of the identities of Trans persons, and laws justifying transphobic violence. This will support Trans persons living in Jamaica fully participating in all areas of public life which would also be in up keeping with the SDG goals, specifically goals 5 and 10 which speak about gender equality and reduced inequalities, as well as goal 3 which has a target on ensuring universal sexual and reproductive health services and ending AIDS by 2030.
It is also important to provide young people with comprehensive sexuality education that teaches about human rights, identity, and gender equality, as a way of promoting inclusivity and preventing violence and abuse. We also need to train health care providers to deliver stigma-free services to ensure that Trans people are able to access the health care services we need.
Visibility is crucial in the fight against inequality. If we don’t take a public stand, then nothing will change. People of Trans experience and allies need to speak up for Trans rights and continue pushing for justice and equality for all.
(This blog is a repost from the Act!2030 weblog in observance of the International Day of Trans Visibility. You may visit the original post here.)