On May 9, 2012 the Argentinian Senate passed the first ever gender identity law in the country. With 55 votes in favor, 1 abstention and no votes against the law passed in Argentina is for now the most progressive disposition on trans* rights in the world. The law removes all requirements that were demanded for accessing legal recognition of gender identity such as sterilization, hormonal treatment, and surgical procedures, psychiatric diagnosis, etc, replacing them by a simple administrative procedure. Moreover, the law guarantees voluntary access to hormonal and surgical procedures on an informed consent basis. The law also extends these rights to children and adolescents taking into account the protection mechanisms under Argentinean law.
The gender identity law that was passed is the product of a combination of different factors. Prominent ones are the human rights policies of the Argentinean government and particularly those in favor of the right to identity whose legal force was a significant contribution to the passing of this law; mobilization by civil society organizations on sexual orientation and gender identity resulting in the passing of the egalitarian marriage law in July 2010; and the progress made on strategic litigation before Argentinean courts. The Argentinean gender identity law reflects, above everything, the conviction, organizing, alliance building, and strengthening of the trans* movement in Argentina whose achievements in recent years clearly consolidated the path to the law.
This legal change in Argentina is also a message going beyond borders. A message for countries in the region to advance their commitments on gender identity and human rights issues. A message for all those countries that even today consecrate human rights violations such as forced sterilization in their gender identity laws. This law sends a clear message against transphobic violence, and affirms the full status as humans of trans* people and their right to all rights. It is a message stating that the Yogyakarta Principles are enforceable and that in access to transitional health, trans* identities and experiences can be depathologized. It is a message for all trans* activists everywhere: change is possible. GATE congratulates Argentinean activists for this groundbreaking achievement, and celebrate this historical opportunity for all.
*The Global Action for Trans* Equality
>> Argentina Gender Rights Law: A New World Standard (The New York Times)
>> Argentina Makes Sex-Change Surgery a Legal Right (ABC News)
>> Argentina: Lawmakers Approve Gender Identity Law (Global Voices)
>> Gender Identity Law in Argentina (By Mauro Cabral, from GATE)