12-12-2018 Giuliana Ippoliti

What does the Gender Identity Law establish in Chile?

On September 12, 2018, the Congress approved the Gender Identity Law in Chile. This leaves behind a debate that lasted five years, and was accepted with 95 votes in favor and 46 against. Now, it must be sent to the national president, Sebastián Piñera, for his approval. However, on October 25, the Constitutional Court announced that the regulations is constitutional; so now it remains to wait for it to be published in the Official Gazette, and to become a Law of the Republic. Hopefully, the first name and sex changes will be held in October of 2019.

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Ayer Chile se convirtió en un mejor país. En un año más muchas personas transgénero podrán cambiar su nombre y sexo registral sin trámites engorrosos, patologizantes y humillantes. El cuestionamiento de nuestra identidad, que es la mayor causa de discriminación que vivimos en todos los espacios donde nos desenvolvemos, ayer se deshizo. Esperamos que esta Ley ayude a salvar vidas, en honor a aquelles que ya no están con nosotres. En #OTDChile seguiremos luchando porque tener una identidad trans no sea estar condenade a un espacio de marginación y discriminación. Somos mayoría! Ganamos y vamos a ir por más! Gracias a les activistas, aliades, a los/las 95 diputados/as que quedarán en la historia por contribuir al respeto de los Derechos Humanos de todas, todos y todes. #LigAhora 📷 Javiera Salgado Herrera.

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The principle of the new Gender Identity Law

After the Law is officially published, a period of six months is granted so that both the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health, apply article 26. It establishes that non-profit legal entities can carry out accompaniment and orientation programs for trans teenagers who want to request their name and gender change in the identity document; and must attend a family court.

On the other hand, work will begin on family counseling, training of school communities, and others.

What does the Law say?

First, it conforms to the principle of non-pathologization; This means that it does not consider transgender people as sick or with a disorder. That is, medical, psychological and much less body modification treatments, won’t be required.

It also allows the change of the name and sex of a person in their identity document. Here, there is a point that was fervently debated: young people between 14 and 18 years old, will be allowed to apply for the procedure as long as they meet two conditions. The first is that they have the permission and support of their representatives, and the second is that they attend a Family Court. Although the request does not include medical reports, it does require that it have to be accompanied by background information on the psychosocial and family context.

In a negative area, the Law establishes that married people will not be able to avail themselves of the procedure. Instead, they must divorce to begin the process of recognition of their identity.

Gender Identity Law in Chile.

Why is the approval of the Law important?

Discrimination is a weapon for destruction. Maybe, such a statement may sound too strong; however, when a person experiences rejection, hatred, and is judged for inexcusable reasons, the manner in which this paragraph began to be written is acceptable. We are all necessary to build a better world, and for the exercise of an exemplary citizenship, to have decent lives and, above all, to be and feel good about ourselves.

Being who we are is not a crime, a sin, and much less should it be something that conditions you socially. For that reason, having a Law that protects transgender people is a State responsibility. Diversity, equity and rights are a necessary priority for the development of a nation. Let there be no doubt.

When the Law will be valid

After the approval of President Sebastián Piñera, and the publication in the Official Gazette, it is possible that a year may elapse before the validity of this Law that claims the right to identity.

Read more about the Gender Identity Law in Chile.