A change in a form used for reporting physical abuse at public and private hospitals in Brazil will help build insight into assaults on lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders, Health Minister
Arthur Chioro announced Thursday (Jan. 29). Two new personal details fields have been added to the document, he said. In one of them, the health professional in charge specifies the victim’s sexual orientation as “heterosexual”, “homosexual”, or “bisexual”. The second item describes the patient’s gender identity, and can be marked as “transvestite”, “transsexual woman”, or “transsexual man”.
“We’re building insight that will be instrumental for informing a range of public policies and providing [gay’s rights] social movements further details on any [violence] incidents and their locations and circumstances,” Chioro explained. The new form is expected to be used countrywide.
A special committee has been put together with representatives from the five ministries involved in combating violence against the LGBT community. They are members of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency, the Secretariat for Policies on Women’s Rights, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health, and the chief administrative aide of the Presidency.
According to the Human Rights Secretary, Ideli Salvatti, the committee will work on two levels. “The first of them is to keep a close watch on the entire process of reporting, investigating, and legal proceedings that involve violence against lesbians, gays, transvestites and transsexuals. Moreover, we give assistance and follow up with the victims.” According to her, providing details of violence incidents to health services will help keep track of the process. Helplines and ombudsman services are another important resource because they enable monitoring of legal proceedings to make sure the aggressors are held accountable and punished.
Ludymilla Santiago, an activist in the Association of the Center for Support for Transvestites, Transsexuals and Transgenders in the Federal District (ANAV-TRANS), believes that taking action is a first step that can lead to further change. “If we can count on an idea, a framework, or a course of action, we can then go on to pursue bigger goals,” she said.
The National Ombudsman and the Human Rights Helpline (“Disque 100”) received more than 7,600 reports of violations against the LGBT population between 2011 and 2014. Last year, transvestites and transsexuals were the victims in 232 cases. The largest numbers of reports were in the states of São Paulo (53), Minas Gerais (26) and Piauí (20). In most cases, the reports were about discrimination (85%) and emotional abuse (77%).
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira / Mayra Borges