Foto di Natacha Pisarenko/AP
The suburban province surrounding the capital of Argentina has passed a law requiring that 1 percent of local government employees be transgender, a measure that proponents said would help a traditionally marginalized group have access to steady jobs.The legislature for Buenos Aires province, which surrounds the autonomous city of Buenos Aires and supplies much of the greater urban population of 13 million, approved a law on Wednesday that would benefit "transvestite, transexual, and transgender people older than 18 years of age, that comply with the ideal conditions for the post they are applying to," the text of the law reads.
The measure adds to a string of pro-LGBT reforms in the South American country that make it one of the most progressive for gay rights in the entire region.The measure has been applauded by Argentine human rights organizations."Today is a historic day. We're taking a big step towards equity and we are placing our province at the forefront of the recognition of a group that is among the most marginalized," the original author of the measure, Karina Nazabal, said on Thursday.Despite being a predominantly Catholic country and the birthplace of Pope Francis, Argentina is one of the most forward-looking countries for laws regarding sexual minorities. The change began in May 2012, when the Argentine Senate approved the Gender Identity Law, allowing transgender and transexual people to officially change their names without having to pass through legal or psychological examinations.The Gender Identity Law also established the government's responsibility to pay for the surgical processes and hormonal treatments for those who want to change their gender. In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to recognize same sex marriages, and this year it also removed the restrictions that prevented homosexuals, lesbians and transexuals from donating blood.The new law is expected to help improve the living conditions for Argentina's trans population, who have an average life expectancy between 32 and 35 years of age, against the national average of nearly 80 years."We are extremely happy because we never thought we could reach such an important moment," trans activist Diana Sacayan told the Telam news agency. "But despite this great achievement, we must continue working to create a cultural change."Related: Crime-Weary Argentina Sees More Mob Violence and Vigilante KillingsFollow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews