XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Participation of female sex workers and transgender women in decision-making and citizens movements in Mexico

J. Bear Blass1, R. Torres Flores2, J. Jasso Aguilr3

1Fortaleciendo la Diversidad A.C., Relaciones Publicas, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2Fortaleciendo la Diversidad A.C., Proyectos, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 3Fortaleciendo la Diversidad A.C., Direccion, San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Issues: One of the most palpable expressions of stigma and discrimination against female sex workers and transgender women is social denial of their existence and their consequent exclusion from decision-making.
Description: Community-based action research in San Luis Potosi, Mexico involved female sex workers and transgender women in identifying the most serious and frequent forms of stigma and discrimination which they faced. Violence, labor discrimination, poverty, social invisibility and exclusion from forums where they could express their needs and demand their rights were highlighted. The women then worked to sensitize and collaborate with government institutions like the Human Rights Commission, the State University, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Social Development and the State HIV Programme. At the same time we worked to draw attention to discrimination against these populations and to position strategic messages about their human rights and dignity in the mass media. Greater involvement and participation of sex workers and transgender women was achieved in:
1) the State AIDS Council;
2) the oversight committees of the State Human Rights Commission;
3) and the National HIV/AIDS Council.
Lessons learned: Training in human rights and citizenship and collaborative work on stigma and discrimination with decision-makers and public functionaries can have positive results for the incorporation of female sex workers and transgender women in public spaces where decisions are taken.
Next steps: Colleagues occupying these spaces require accompaniment and support to ensure that they have a significant impact and can adequately defend the needs and proposals of the peers whom they represent.

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