August 11, 2015 at 2:48 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Puerto Rico governor bans anti-transgender discrimination

Puerto Rico, gay news, Washington Blade

The governor of Puerto Rico on Aug. 10, 2015, issued two executive orders that ban anti-transgender discrimination in the island’s emergency rooms and allows trans people to change the gender on their driver’s license. (Image by Raimond Spekking)

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla on Monday issued two executive orders that extend rights to transgender people in the U.S. commonwealth.

One of the orders that García signed specifically prohibits hospitals from discriminating against potential patients based on their gender identity when they seek treatment in an emergency room. The second mandate allows trans Puerto Ricans to change the gender on their driver’s license.

“My administration is committed to the eradication of all types of discrimination,” said García in a press release that his office issued on Tuesday.

Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBT advocacy group, praised García.

“I congratulate the governor for doing the right thing,” said Serrano. “Transgender and transsexual people deserve all rights. This is a great step that recognizes their dignity and begins to eradicate the institutional barriers that prevent them from having the same opportunities that the rest of the population (of Puerto Rico) takes for granted.”

García in 2013 signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination in Puerto Rico and added sexual orientation and gender identity to the island’s domestic violence laws. The governor earlier this year announced his administration would no longer defend the U.S. commonwealth’s ban on the recognition of same-sex marriages and those in which one person is trans.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry throughout the country, including in Puerto Rico. Gay Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) last month introduced a bill — the Equality Act — that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act.

Pedro Julio Serrano, NGLTF, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Puerto Rico, San Juan, LGBT equality, adoption, gay news, Washington Blade

Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, an LGBT advocacy group, testifies before the Puerto Rico Senate in 2013. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

2 Comments
  • Awesomeness in action.

  • Bi + TransFemale + Christian

    THANK YOU Puerto Rico! Muchisimas gracias al governador padilla for haber extendido estas protecciones a mis hermanas y hermanos transgeneros (thank you Gov Padilla for extending these protections to my trans broth/sisters). Thank you for not falling for the “tired and worn out tricks of the devil” that demonize gender—–in the end we are who we are….male or female…

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