Transgender woman makes history as the first trans police chief in Latin America
Almost a decade after being forced out of the police because of her “illness,” trans woman Analia Pasantino is back – as the first trans police chief in Latin America.
After 20 years with Argentina’s federal police force – during which time she was decorated, acted as police spokesperson and led an anti-narcotics team – she came out as trans in 2008.
Despite her achievements, she was deemed unfit to serve because of what police psychiatrists called an “irreconcilable” condition, and made to leave the force.
Pasantino submitted a psychiatric evaluation every three months, hoping each time that she would be let back in, but her ‘leave of absence’ was continually extended.
“It was always seen as an illness,” she told Associated Press.
“As crude as it sounds, the final diagnosis was: a disturbance in gender identity that made me unrecoverable to the police force.”
Finally, the leadership changed, and she was no longer seen as broken simply for being trans.
She returned this week, as deputy police commissioner in the judicial communications department.
“This is a milestone,” Pasantino, 49, said.
“I’m the first transgender police chief in Latin America. It’s an unprecedented and important step to show Latin America and the world that we are an open institution.”
For years before she came out, Pasantino dressed as a woman at home with her wife, Silvia Mauro, who she said has been her “pillar of support”.
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“She has backed me with everything,” Pasantino said about her wife, who is also her lawyer and has been with her for 31 years.
Times have certainly changed since 2008, when Pasantino was summarily thrown out of the police, and Argentina has been at the forefront of LGBT rights for several years now.
Two years later, the country’s parliament unanimously passed a bill enabling trans people to change their officially recorded gender without prior medical or judicial approval.
And in 2015, Argentina changed its rules to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood immediately.
“The world has changed,” Pasantino said.
“You can live a life of gender identity and it’s no longer necessary to live a double life.”