Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD), Chile
‘Transgenderism is not a psychological disorder’, is the campaign slogan of Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad (OTD), an organisation striving to raise the visibility of transgenders in Chile. As in many countries, trans people in Chile face marginalisation, exclusion, stigma, and discrimination – in their own families, in public spaces, in the legal and health systems, from conservative elements within the Catholic and evangelical churches, and as workers.
Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad is building a visible trans movement in Chile by mobilising trans people to start groups throughout the country. The organisation’s members advocate for trans people’s rights by educating their communities and families on issues affecting trans people. The organisation also works closely with the Ministry of Health and with parliamentary groups responsible for gender policies to ensure that trans people are recognised and protected by the state.
As part of its national advocacy strategy, in 2011 OTD brought intense pressure to bear on Chile’s Constitutional and Legislative Commission to include gender identity as a protected category in anti-discrimination legislation. The anti-discrimination law was approved by the Chamber of Deputies and then signed into law by the President of Chile in July 2012.
In 2011, OTD also succeeded in overturning a medical protocol that subjects trans people to degrading physical and mental examinations that require them to ‘prove their transsexuality’ in order to access hormone therapy or re-assignment surgery. The organisation also organises public campaigns on trans people’s lives and realities. In 2011 a photo exhibition on trans identity in Latin America was inaugurated by the Mayor of the City of Rancagua that attracted over 5,000 visitors its first week.
Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad received grants from Mama Cash in 2009, 2010 and 2011.