The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has announced that Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte will receive the organization’s Felipa Award, which “recognizes the courage and effectiveness of groups or leaders dedicated to improving the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and other individuals stigmatized and abused because of their sexuality or HIV status.”
In 2005, Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte, a trans man, founded Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad, the only NGO in Chile dedicated to fighting for trans people’s rights, which he currently heads. He has worked with government and the local health system to facilitate the evaluation, treatment and surgery of trans people, and organized the first Rancagua debate on the Civil Union Pact. But his work is not just with high-level officials; he also provides direct support to sex workers-visiting them nightly to distribute coffee, food and information about HIV/AIDS. Himself the victim of employment discrimination, he fought a landmark lawsuit, bringing issues of gender identity into the public view, finally winning the right for trans people to legally change their name and sex in 2007.
Mr. Duarte will share the award with the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO).
For more information on transgender issues in Chile, check out Karina’s Story, a report produced in June 2006 for Frontline that explores what it is like to be transgender “in a fiercely Catholic and conservative country such as Chile.”