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Spain's first transsexual councillor sworn in
SPAIN'S first-ever transsexual councillor has been sworn in at Paiporta town hall (Valencia province) and says his appointment 'marks a before and after' in national politics.
Guillém Montoro, 22, head of transparency, modernisation and resident participation for the left-wing regional party Compromís, says his new role will 'help increase visibility' of the 'reality' of transgendered persons, which he insists 'need to be put into words'.
“Being transsexual not an illness,” he clarifies.
Replacing councillor Encarna Signes, who resigned from the role in December for 'personal reasons', Guillém was actively involved in the Valencia regional law on transgendered people and their rights and says he is keen to be a role model for other young people in his situation.
“Nobody has the right to impose on you who you should be,” he states.
Qualified to foundation degree level in social welfare and healthcare and in gender equality promotion, Guillém says transsexuals 'spend every day trying to beat stigma' about their situation – and, in fact, since becoming councillor, he has already been called 'unnatural' and 'abnormal' and asked 'why he needs to flaunt it in public'.
“It is still considered that transsexuality is something to be ashamed of and that transgendered persons – like lesbians, gays and bisexual people – should keep their 'issues' private and behind closed doors; as though imperant heterocentrism wasn't flaunting heterosexuality,” says Guillém.
He has not said whether he is in fact homosexual, which is a completely separate issue and nothing to do with transsexuality, despite Guillém's referring to them in the same context – in fact, figures show that the romantic orientations of transsexuals are in the same proportion as non-transgendered individuals.
And transsexuality still suffers from a far lower rate of public acceptance than homosexuality or bisexuality – Guillém reveals that 82% of transgendered persons have suffered some kind of physical violence at some point in their lives because of their condition.
Some 31% have suffered discrimination at work or in the job market, at least 23% have attempted suicide, a number of them several times, and 'more and more children every day' are bullied at school.
“I got involved in politics because there were things that were not being done properly and I felt I needed to change them from the inside,” he says.
Guillém has a special interest in ensuring 'things are done properly' for the transgendered community in general, revealing that 'constant acts of transphobia' are ongoing, as though transsexuals were 'second-class citizens'.
An estimated 0.8% of the world's population suffers what is clinically referred to as 'gender dysmorphia', where they feel they have been born into the body of the wrong sex.
It usually manifests itself in earliest childhood and, although many countries still do not allow gender reassignment surgery for under-18s, most western nations – including Spain – will allow transsexuals to start hormone treatment from puberty to ensure they grow into 'the right body'.
Spain also allows transsexuals to register themselves with the gender they consider themselves to be and their corresponding name on all official documentation, including ID cards.
So far, the youngest transsexual in Spain to change her ID card to her new name and female gender was just four years old, but psychologists highly-specialised in this area agreed the tot was transgendered and issued reports to allow her to adopt her new identity.
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