12-14-2018 Giuliana Ippoliti

Gender Identity Law in the world



The rights of LGBTIQ+ people are human rights! Let’s make that clear. There is nothing strange, otherworldly, or absurd about that. The petition today is for equality, respect, and, above all, justice. Globally, only 20 countries have approved some form of gender identity law. This means that in the world, constituted by at least 194 recognized countries, only a few have taken steps in favor of the most basic rights of the trans community.

Chile, by the way, is one of them. The Congress approved in October of this year, a law that allows transgender people over 14 years old, to modify their name and gender in the public records. In that sense, Michel Riquelme of Organizing Trans Diversidades (OTD), told the Open Society Foundation, that many people in Chile who wanted to change their information on identity documents, were subjected to “humiliating and degrading treatment”. This, even if they were requesting something that is considered a “fundamental human right”: identity.

Gender Identity Law in the World

There are two countries that have made an international difference: Argentina and Denmark, and this assertion is supported by the NGO Transgender Europe. Both countries have opted for a progressive approach regarding the recognition of gender.

The Argentine Senate approved in 2012 and unanimously (this is very important), Gender Identity Law. What is one of the most determinants stipulations that this law establishes? That body transformation surgery is a legal right! Yes, as you just read it! But there is still more, the surgical procedure is included in both private and public health plans. Not bad, right? However, at a social level in Argentina there is still some misgivings regarding the trans community. And, as you already know, societies often resist the unknown.

On the other hand, Denmark approved in 2014, the legal recognition of gender for people over 18 years. The revolutionary thing of the Danish law, is that the change is based simply on the self-determination of the own person, without the requirement of any medical revision. This makes this country the only one in Europe that does not require a psychiatric or medical diagnosis, to proceed to formulate the legal paperwork for the change of gender identity.

Europe and trans rights

34 European countries do not grant the right to a trans person, to change name and gender, in identity documents. This, at least, without having previously performed a surgery on the genitals or any medical procedure that approves it.

On the other hand, in 2015, Malta approved the Gender Identity Law, Expression of Gender and Sexual Characteristics. It provides a simple procedure that safeguards the privacy of the person, who officially requests to change the legal sex information in the official documents. Also, this law establishes that the sexual characteristics of a person can vary and that in theory, all should be empowered to make decisions that “affect their own integrity and physical autonomy”. So, in Malta psychiatric treatments, hormone consumption, and others are not required to complete the procedure.

Asia and the Transgender community

In distant and mysterious Iran, the religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, performed 31 years ago, a legal procedure that allows genital surgery. But no, this country does not shake hands with progress; Contrary to what you may be thinking, and despite the fact that many transgender have successfully undergone surgeries, the legal agreement is based on the notion that these people suffer from psychological disorders and require intervention to have full right to the citizenship.

In India, on the other hand, the Supreme Court of Justice delivered in 2014, the right to “hijra”, trans and to people not identified with any gender, the right to practice genitals modifying surgeries. There, the trans have access to public health, the right to education and ensures non-discrimination in matters relating to employment, for example.

Trump and its discriminatory policies against the community

Donald Trump wants to “erase” the transgender from the map, it is the title that the Spanish newspaper El País used regarding a new that made activists, politicians and even Hollywood stars, protest. The administration of the controversial president, wants to approve a law that stipulates that the sex of people can only be male or female, not subject to change and determined by their genitals.

In the United States 1.4 million trans people have made a gender change, and for many, this law will violate their basic rights. President Trump also will like to prevents transgender people from joining the army.

And what about Africa?

On the African continent there are five countries that punish homosexual behavior with death, according to ILGA. These are: Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia. In addition, 71 States establish prison sentences, psychiatric treatment, among others. To make matters worse, some of its leaders have compared homosexuals with mosquitoes that transmit malaria, as did the former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. And what can we say about this?

It is believed that Africa is the most homophobic continent in the world.

Read more about the Gender Identity Law in Chile.