Chilean President Sebastian Piñera on Wednesday signed into law a bill that allows transgender individuals over 14 to legally change their name and gender identity without surgery or a court order.
The legislation, which received final approval by lawmakers in September, will take effect next year.
“We signed the Gender Identity Law because we strongly believe that everyone is born equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities and we should be the architects of our own lives and live them with liberty,” Piñera said in a tweet. “As such, we can move towards a more humane and loving society that better respects diversity.”
Piñera’s support for the bill was a bit surprising. He served four years as president prior to the election of Michelle Bachelet, who left office earlier this year. During his first term, Piñera pushed for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, not marriage. His support, however, was questioned by LGBT activists.
LGBT rights groups cheered the news.
“This law is a significant advance for the rights of the trans community because it is an expressed recognition of their identity in law,” said Fundación Iguales Executive President Juan Enrique Pi in a statement.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the U.S.’s largest LGBT rights advocate, also issued a statement.
“This historic decision marks a milestone for LGBTQ rights in Chile and in South America,” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. “We commend the efforts of all the LGBTQ advocates involved, including our Chilean partners at Fundación Iguales, who worked tirelessly for five years to achieve this victory. While this legislation removes roadblocks for many trans people, there is still important progress to be made – especially for transgender youth.”
by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine