Amid widespread criticism, most notably from the trans community, Perú has ended a provision of the lockdown restricting men and women from appearing in public at the same time.
This welcomed move follows on the heels of The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling of April 7, which held the government of Peru responsible for the torture and rape of a transgender woman.
BBC reports that Peru’s government has revoked a decision to restrict the movement of people in the streets on certain days of the week according to their gender. The ruling was issued on 2 April as part of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Farid Matuk, a member of the government’s COVID-19 task force, said the move did not work because Peru was still a patriarchal society where women did most of the domestic work. He said women had gathered in large numbers in shops and markets on the three days of the week when they were allowed to go out.
RedLacTrans reports that Peruvian transgender and nonbinary people have faced increased harassment by police who have used the gender-based provision of the COVID-19 lockdown to publicly humiliate them.
#ALERTA No a la #TransfobiaPolicial y de las #FuerzasArmadas que se respete lo dicho por el presidente de la República #leydeidentidaddegenero @CoalicionLGBTTI @Synergiaihr @REDLACTRANS @AHF_PERU @FAU_LAC @MimpPeru pic.twitter.com/sn83TX0h4L
— TRANS Org. FEMINISTA por los DDHH TRANS (@Coordinaciontr3) April 4, 2020
Merco Press reports that the gender-based lockdown measure was criticized by transgender activists worried that it would lead to greater discrimination.
The decree did not specify how police or the military would enforce the new measure, which will apply as long as the country’s lockdown, which is scheduled to continue until April 26.
President Vizcarra said during the press conference that during the gender-based quarantine police officers have been told to respect the gender identities of transgender and non-binary people.
“The armed forces and national police will have clear instructions so that this is not at all a pretext for any homophobic measure,” Vizcarra said in a live-stream video.
Despite Vizcarra’s assurances that the measures would not increase street harassment for transgender and non-binary Peruvians, many still reported instances of increased policing due to the measures.
Alexandra Arana told El Comercio that she was stopped by the police while walking to the market with her friend on April 4, a day designated for women to leave the house. Because Arana is a transgender woman, the sex on her national ID card says “male.”
Though she explained this to the police, the proceeded to misgender her and tell her to go home because it was not a designated day for men.
Business Insider reports that instances of transphobia like what Arana faced were reported across the country during the eight days of the gendered COVID-19 policy.