Things That Matter

Recognizing Its Diversity Issue, Argentina Is Working To Add More Transgender Workers To Its Labor Force

Argentina has long been a progressive bastion in Latin America. It was one of the first countries in the region to allow same-sex marriage and also has anti-discrimination laws in many cities. It’s also been a beacon of hope for the transgender community, with the government long allowing individuals to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex.

However, transgender workers still face immense discrimination and that has left a reported 95% of the community without formal employment. To help try and address this issue, the nation’s leaders have instituted a program to ensure that at least 1% of the workforce is made up of trans workers. It’s an ambitious task but the government is already making progress.

Argentina launched a program to ensure better transgender representation in the workforce.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández signed a decree in September establishing a 1 percent employment quota for transgender people in the public sector. The law went into effect on January 1 and its aim is to bring more trans workers into the formal economy.

According to Argentina’s LGBTQ community, 95 percent of transgender people do not have formal employment, with many forced to work in the sex industry where they face violence.

“If all the institutions implemented the trans quota, it would change a lot for many of my colleagues. It would change the quality of their lives and they would not die at 34, or 40, which is their life expectancy today,” Angeles Rojas, who recently landed a job at a national bank, told NBC News.

There are no official figures on the size of the transgender community in Argentina, since it was not included in the last 2010 census. But LGBTQ organizations estimate there are 12,000 to 13,000 transgender adults in Argentina, which has a population topping 44 million.

Few countries in the world are stepping up to help trans workers quite like Argentina.

Argentina has long prided itself on its progressive policies. The nation was one of the first in the Americas to recognize same-sex unions and several cities have anti-discrimination laws aimed at protecting the LGBTQ community.

In 2012, Argentina adopted an unprecedented gender identity law allowing transgender people to choose their self-perceived identity regardless of their biological sex. The law also guarantees free access to sex-reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments without prior legal or medical consent.

Worldwide, only neighboring Uruguay has a comparable quota law promoting the labor inclusion of transgender people. And a law such as this one has the potential to greatly impact the lives of transgendered Argentinians.

Despite the program, transgender people still face enormous challenges in Argentina.

A recent report by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People published in December said “the vast majority of trans women in the region have sex work as their sole economic and subsistence livelihood.”

It goes on to say: In Latin America and the Caribbean transgender people have their right to work violated along with all their human rights, and this takes place “in a context of extreme violence.”

Despite legal protections, Argentina’s trans community remains at risk. Many of the country’s trans citizens live in the Gondolín, a building in the Buenos Aires’ Palermo neighborhood, for protection and strength in numbers.

There have been advances in Argentina. This year, Diana Zurco became the first transgender presenter of Argentine television news, Mara Gómez was authorized by the Argentine Football Association to play in the professional women’s league and soprano María Castillo de Lima was the first transgender artist to go on stage at Teatro Colón.

However, the gap between the equality established by law and the real one remains large, warned Ese Montenegro, a male transgender activist hired as an adviser to the Chamber of Deputies’ women’s and diversity commission.

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Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Things That Matter

Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of observers gathered in parts of Chile and Argentina on Monday to witness a rare and stunning total solar eclipse. The natural phenomenon is the second solar eclipse to be visible in Chile in the last 18 months.

Because of the perfect timing this time around, this year’s eclipse was especially breathtaking.

The sky got especially dark this year because this eclipse occurred both during the summer in the Southern Hemisphere and closer to the middle of the day. The sun was higher in the sky, making the change from lightness to darkness especially stark.

A solar eclipse happens when the earth, the moon and the sun are in total alignment. It’s a phenomenon that is actually rare in most solar systems. Our solar system is unique in that our moon is the perfect size to be able to block out the sun.

Thousands of people traveled hundreds of miles, some even camping out over night to get the chance to observe the rare phenomenon. The biggest crowds gathered in the Araucanía region 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile’s capital. The gatherers were wearing face masks and special protective glasses so they could watch the eclipse without damaging their eyes.

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

The solar eclipse had special significance for the Mapuche indigenous community in Chile.

“In Mapuche culture the eclipse has different meanings — they talk about ‘Lan Antu’, like the death of the sun and the conflict between the moon and the sun,” said Estela Nahuelpan, a leader in the indigenous Mateo Nahuelpan community, to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It refers to the necessary balance that has to exist in nature.”

In Mapuche legend, during a solar eclipse, the the sun temporarily dies when it battles against an unknown evil force known as “Wekufu”. Indigenous expert Juan Nanculef told the AFP that the Mapuche people used to light bonfires and throw stones and arrows into the sky to help the sun in its fight against Wekufu.

In days past, the Mapuche community would consider an eclipse like this a bad omen. There is still a bit of superstition that lingers around the phenomenon. A man named Diego Ancalao, who is a member of the Mapuche community, told CBS News that the last solar eclipse in 2019 was followed by civil unrest in Chile as well as a global pandemic.

Here’s to hoping that this eclipse is a sign of all of the good times ahead!

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These Movies About Jewish Life In Latin America Are Perfect For Hanukkah

Culture

These Movies About Jewish Life In Latin America Are Perfect For Hanukkah

jessicanelson / Getty Images

The Jewish experience in Latin America is vast and diverse. Millions of Jewish families, having fled Europe before, during, and after World War II and the Holocaust settled everywhere in the world. Here are some of the movies depicting the various Jewish communities and stories in Latin America.

“Anita”

The Argentine movie tells the story of a Jewish woman with Down Syndrome in the aftermath of the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack to date. The Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) was attacked by a suicide bomber killing 85 people and injuring hundreds. Anita, the young woman, is left wandering the streets looking for her mother, who was supposed to be at the AMIA at the time of the bombing. Argentina is home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America and the sixth-largest in the world.

“Gaby: A True Story”

The Mexican-American biographical film is about a European refugee family living in Mexico. The daughter, Gaby, was born with cerebral palsy and can only move her left foot, which she uses to type to communicate. Gabriel Brimmer is nurtured and encouraged by her nurse and it leads her to a life of advocacy and writing for the disabled community in Mexico.

“Havana Curveball”

The biography dives deep into the story of one grandfather’s journey to Cuba to escape the Holocaust in Europe. After living in Cuba for two years, he and his family move to the U.S. Decades later, his teenage son wants to do something to help the country that saved his grandfather’s life and he focuses on baseball. The sport is the young boys favorite thing so he sets to donate large amounts of baseball gear to the island but the embargo makes things hard. The rest of the journey plays out on the island as he learns more about the island where his grandfather once lived.

“O Ano Em Que Meus Pais Saíram De Férias” (“The Year My Parents Went On Vacation”)

A young boys mother and father leave him behind as they flee Brazil’s oppressive regime in 1970. During that time, Mauro is taken in by his grandfather and becomes the adopted child of a tight-knit Jewish community in São Paulo. Mauro anxiously waits for his parents to return as the nation gets ready for Brazil’s appearance in the World Cup.

“My Mexican Shivah”

This comedy takes a look at one of the most notable customs of a Jewish funeral: the shivah. As the family sits to observe shiva after the death of the matriarch, secrets of the family are slowly revealed. The movie is a funny look at Mexican and Jewish cultures coming together whole a family grapples with long dormant secrets.

“Nora’s Will” (“Cinco días sin Nora”)

The drama is a look at love and loss after Nora, Jose’s wife, commits suicide just before Passover. The woman’s plan was to bring her family together for the holy celebration but a forgotten photo might derail those plans. Jose finds the photo and it begins a journey to deeper understanding of his wife’s love.

“The Tenth Man”

Ariel, an Argentine man living in New York, is getting ready to visit his father in Buenos Aires. He is looking forward to finally introducing his father to his dancer wife but nothing is going to plan. Ariel and Monica finally arrive in Argentina after being delayed a few days and being unable to find the specific shoes his father requested. Yet, his father is unable to meet up for days as he promises to meet in person soon.

READ: Anti-Semitism Rocked A NYC Subway When A Woman Physically Assaulted A Jewish Woman

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