Argentina has appointed its first transgender police chief.
Analia Pasantino already served 20 years in Argentina’s federal police.
She was a decorated police officer, served as a spokesperson for the force, and lead an anti-narcotics team.
But when she came out as transgender in 2008, psychiatric reports attested her and ‘irreconcilable’ illness.
As a result, Pasantino was declared unfit to serve and had to take a leave of absence.
This week, she was welcomed back as the force’s new deputy police commissioner, workingin the judicial communications department.
‘This is a milestone,’ she told The Associated Press.
‘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 the past nine years, she had to undergo a psychiatric evaluation every three months in the hope of rejoining the police.
But the committee reviewing her case repeatedly extended Pasantino’s leave.
‘It was always seen as illness,’ she said.
‘As crude as it sounds, the final diagnosis was: a disturbance in gender identity that made me unrecoverable to the police force.’
Until the leadership changed. They reinstated Pasantino and made her a chief.
In her first week of work, Pasantino said she was ‘a bit overwhelmed’ by the attention she got.
Former colleagues sent her messages of support, and the media wanted to interview her.
‘I’m proud to tell this story,’ she said.
‘And I hope it helps others as well.’
And she didn’t have to go alone through her ordeal, either.
Pasantino’s wife, lawyer Silvia Mauro, was always at her side, from the moment she decided to transition.
Former highschool sweethearts, they have been together 31 years and Mauro was always supportive of her wife.
‘She has backed me with everything,” Pasantino said.
‘She has been my pillar of support.’