What will Chile's new gender identity law modify?

To some, the approval of said legislation corresponds only to political interests

What will Chile's new gender identity law modify?

The Human Rights Commission of the Chamber of Deputies in Chile approved on January 15th a law that allows the modification of gender on official documents granting individuals the freedom to recognize themselves as they wish rather than what was given to them by society.

"This is a bill that has had a long process in Congress, four years, which has made significant progress in the commission, so we again appreciate all parliamentarians who have attended with their vote in favor of this initiative", said the government's minister and spokesperson, Paula Narváez, to local media, adding that the approved legislation also allows gender change in children and adolescents, only with the consent of parents.

According to the Gender Identity Law in Chile, only one change of gender will be allowed; courts will not be able to ask for pharmacological, psychological, psychiatric, or surgical evidence to process said legal modification.

Some point out that the controversial bill was voted on during an unfitting date due to the fact that it was parallel to the three-day visit of Pope Francis; many parliamentarians were away from their activities because it was a holiday in the metropolitan region.

Others argue that the law of gender identity only corresponds to left’s party´s intention to win voters overs by pleasing a certain electoral niche. But despite these opinions, the legislation was generally welcomed making it an important step forward for the Latin American nation in terms of rights of citizens.

Among the statements, Minister Narváez also recognized the incessant work of sexual diversity organizations "that for years have done advocacy labor, generating conscience and improving public opinion so Chile can recognize human rights for all its citizens". She also highlighted that the joint work made by government and civil society is the correct formula to build a "strong and robust" democracy.

Latin America keeps on fighting for LGBTI’s rights

At the beginning of 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) urged the signatory countries of the American Convention on Human Rights to recognize same-sex marriage and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond of this nature without any discrimination.

Despite the fact that a large part of the Latin American region has protection policies for members of the LGBT community, there are still nations where homophobia and hate homicides due to sex discrimination prevail. According to statistics presented by America's Quarterly 2016, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica are the nations where being gay represents a high possibility of receiving aggressions, being discriminated against, or even murdered. On the contrary, Uruguay and Argentina lead the list of the friendliest nations towards the LGBTI community.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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