In February 2022, the constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling advancing the rights of the country’s embattled transgender community. It ruled that the constitutional clause barring discrimination based on sex encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, and that El Salvador’s law governing legal name changes must allow trans people to modify their legal name in accordance with their gender identity. The court gave the Legislative Assembly one year to make the necessary reforms.
This jurisprudence, grounded in international human rights law, was a welcome breakthrough for transgender people in a country where trans activists have for years denounced the high levels of discrimination that their communities face and pushed to gain legal gender recognition. To give the court decision full effect and address the ongoing harms faced by trans individuals, the Legislative Assembly should not only implement the constitutional guarantee in law, but also recognize the right of trans individuals to change their gender marker, a critical step not yet addressed by the constitutional chamber.
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