New legislation has been introduced for debate to recognise the right to gender identity and allow transgender people to amend their birth certificates to coincide with their self-identification in Guatemala.

Introduced by Guatemalan Congresswoman Sandra Moran the bill has been presented with support from trans organisations, which had worked on initial drafts since 2009.

Speaking outside the nation’s congress Moran said the mere introduction of the bill is a “recognition to the brave colleagues who live their lives just as they are, even if this means facing strong discrimination.”

Despite data on the LGBTI population in Guatemala being scarce, a 2015 study estimates that more than 15,000 trans people currently live in Guatemala, and of the 15,000 around 61 percent reported income below the minimum wage, with roughly 53 percent did not finish primary school due to exclusion from the educational system.

“The bill is a step in the right direction,” explains Tristán López who is the advocacy coordinator for Transformación, an organisation for trans men, and the LGBT advocacy group Visibles.

“it is only the first step to adapt a system that does not understand and does not recognise the trans population,” López adds.