Panama's gender-based virus rules rebuked after transgender abuse
PANAMA CITY, Panama – A major human rights group on Thursday, April 23, denounced alleged discrimination and abuse against transgender people in Panama, where gender-based social distancing regulations have been put in place.
In addition to abuse, transgender people have been "detained and fined or were prevented from purchasing essential items," Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, wrote in a letter to the country's president.
Panamanian authorities decreed in early April that men could only leave home to go shopping on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with women allowed to do so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
No one is allowed out on Sundays.
Vivanco expressed his "concerns" about the discrimination "by police and private security agents against transgender people" in the letter to President Laurentino Cortizo.
HRW mentioned approximately a dozen cases of alleged abuse, including an instance in which a person identified as Monica claimed police had "felt her breasts and laughed at her, telling her that she was a man while touching her."
Panama's social distancing measures were put in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the country where 144 people have died and approximately 5,000 have been infected.
Except in a few rare circumstances it is not possible to change one's sex on identity documents in Panama.
Vivanco called on the president to apply the containment measures based on a person's expressed gender rather than birth gender, and to issue a directive requiring public and private law enforcement to respect transgender people.
Two weeks ago Peru canceled a similar measure to restrict public movement by gender, following criticism from transgender activists.
Instead of men and women leaving their homes on alternate days, only one person per family unit was allowed to move Monday through Saturday, with no one allowed out on Sundays. – Rappler.com