12-15-2018 Giuliana Ippoliti

History of the Gender Identity Law in Chile



On September 2018, the Joint Senate Commission approved the Gender Identity Law in Chile. Thanks to this, people over 14 years old will have the possibility to modify their gender in the Civil Registry, through an administrative procedure. This legislation also establishes that young people between 14 and 18 years old will be able to do so. This, in case they have the consent of their legal representatives, and have the approval of a Family Court. But how did everything begin?

History of the Gender Identity Law in Chile

On May 7 of 2013, OTD entered for the first time in the Senate, a draft of a law to “Recognize and Protect the Right to Gender Identity”; and finally, five years later and after several debates and modifications, it was approved.

Michelle Bachelet, who was then president of the Republic, included the possibility of approve the law in her government program. The leader of the country believed that it was an issue that would promote the social development of the nation, and help many people. But at that time, there was still a long way to go.

On March 10, 2014, and due to various delays, the first deadline for submitting instructions expired. And it was not until 2015 when the deadline expired.  On November 4, the Commission on Human Rights, Nationality and Citizenship of the Senate, gave the go-ahead to vote the draft of the law. However, Senator Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe (UDI), raised a query to the Supreme Court to discuss some articles that sought to pathologize the process of recognition of gender change.

With time, various extensions, studies, debates and adjustments that had to do with the inclusion of minors in the process, the terms were established so that the law was finally ready for officially votation. In that sense, Bachelet endowed with “urgency” the approval of the law, weeks before she left the functions, to give way to the new president-elect, Sebastián Piñera.

The approval of the Law

With 95 votes in favor and 46 against, the Gender Identity Law was approved. It was the Chilean center-left that sought to promote the project for years, and there were four center-right legislators, who allowed the victory.

The Chilean State has agreed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the protection of transgender people. The results have not been expected, and in November 2018, it will be allowed for the first time in the history of Chile, that transgender students take the university selection test, using their social name. In total, 73 persons registered to use this procedure.

Read more about the Gender Identity Law in Chile.