Latin American & Caribbean Transgender Rights Advocacy Organization Wins Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service

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An Argentina-based transgender rights advocacy organization was honored on September 30, 2009, with the prestigious Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service at the Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health event. The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) gave the award to REDLACTRANS (Latin American and Caribbean Transgender Network) in recognition of the organization's work in advancing acceptance and human rights for transgendered people in the region—and making serious headway.

Marcela Romero accepts the Clarence H. Moore Award for Excellence for Voluntary Service on behalf of REDLACTRANS from PAHEF on Vimeo.

REDLACTRANS was the catalyst for a regional civic movement which spurred a dialogue with governments and international organizations to strengthen the rights of transgender people in the region. As a result of the staff and volunteers' dedicated advocacy efforts, the Organization of American States approved a resolution last year. Within the resolution, the countries of the Americas expressed concern about acts of violence and human rights abuses that were committed against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ms. Marcela Romero, REDLACTRANS' regional coordinator, accepted the award on the organization's behalf. Ms. Romero is a transsexual who fought for 10 years to be legally recognized as a woman in Argentina. Upon accepting the award, she said, "This award belongs to the entire transgender community. We are working for an inclusive Latin America and Caribbean that offers equal rights for a better quality of life."

In Latin America and the Caribbean, as in many other regions of the world, transgender people are frequently threatened emotionally as well as physically. Many are ostracized by their own families.

To meet the unique emotional and physical health needs of the transgender population, REDLACTRANS was formed in 2004. Today, the organization boasts 95 volunteers and three staff in 18 countries throughout the region. It has been through the dedication and perseverance of their volunteers and staff that REDLACTRANS has grown into a vibrant organization working on the front line of transgender rights.

"The people who make up the volunteers, advocates, and staff of REDLACTRANS have tirelessly worked to advance acceptance of transgender people in Latin America and the Caribbean. We commend them for their selfless voluntary service," said Edward Kadunc, executive director of PAHEF.

Since 1989, the Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service has been given each year to recognize and celebrate the public health achievements of nongovernmental organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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