Peruvian President Dina Boluarte

The government of Peru has officially taken several giant steps backward, and they did it without asking “Mother, may I?”

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte this week signed into law a measure categorizing transgender, nonbinary and intersex people as being mentally ill. The copuntry’s minister of health tried to paint the new law as a good thing, claiming it will “guarantee full coverage of medical attention for mental health for trans people,” and promising the change will not force transgender/nonbinary/genderqueer folks into conversion therapy, according to TMZ.

But LGBTQ advocates — including Jheinser Pacaya, the cultural manager and deputy director of the LGBT film festival OutfestPerú — wasn’t buying it.

On Tuesday, May 14, Pacaya posted a proclamation from OutfestPerú denouncing the new law that “classifies transsexuality as a disease, a perspective that stigmatizes transgender people and perpetuates discrimination” (according to Google Translate).

The proclamation continues, “Instead of considering transsexuality as a pathology, acceptance and respect for all gender identities should be promoted. We demand the repeal of this [law] and that the [ministry of health] dedicate itself to protecting fundamental rights by promoting equity in access to medical care.”

Pacaya posted the proclamation on X (The Social Media Platform Formerly Known As Twitter), commenting, “100 years after the decriminalization of homosexuality, [Peru’s ministry of health] has no better idea than to include trans people in the category of mental illness.”

— Tammye Nash