Around the world, 137 countries still do not officially recognize the existence of trans people, according to a new PSA released by trans rights campaign Gender Proud. In 29 countries, proof of surgery is still required before trans citizens can change their gender marker on legal identification documents.
Founded by trans fashion model Geena Rocero, Gender Proud hopes to change these statistics. Rocero has been a vocal advocate since March, when she came out as a trans woman during a TED talk.
This month, Gender Proud has partnered with other trans activists and artists, including model Carmen Carrera and GLAAD's senior program manager Tiq Milan, to release a moving PSA about the reality that many trans citizens still face — a forced choice between sterilization (or other forms of genital surgery) and having their legal documents reflect their gender identities.
In the video below, which is currently being circulated by Upworthy, Rocero also addresses the common experience of being harassed for carrying identification that doesn't align with one's gender presentation. She describes the day she was stopped by immigration officials at Japan's border because she was carrying an ID marked "male."
"I was harshly questioned for hours," she recalls. "The experience left me feeling hopeless and humiliated."
Carerra, too, recalls the dehumanizing experience of being "picked on" by security guards at airports.
Watch the video below to hear more about the push for international ID reform.