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Argentina's Gender Identity Bill easily passes in Senate

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Since being re-elected as president of Argentina in November 2011, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has embarked upon an agressive agenda of new legislation. Much of the new laws have been controversial economic strategies, but some new legislation has been directed toward her government's updated social policies.

The Gender Identity Bill has been waiting for a Senate debate and vote since Dec. 1, 2011. Recently the Senate debated, voted and approved the Gender Identity Bill on May 9, which permits citizens to officially change their name and sexual identity if they wish to do so, without the previous requirement of the need to request special permission in court.

The bill received 55 votes in favor, none against and one senator abstained.

The new law defines gender identity “as the inner and individual gender experience as each person feels it, which can coincide or not with birth assigned at birth time.”

All Argentine citizens older than 18 wishing to change their gender identity will have to go to the National People Registry to request a new DNI identity card to adjust data to self-perceived gender, without the need of hormonal therapy, gender reassignment surgery or any kind of therapies. This is intended to be a very simple application process ensuring that individuals can carry an appropriate identity card for their sexual individuality.

The president's new Family Law Act is also expected to contain new procedures relative to same-sex common law or married couples and is expected to be debated by both the Upper and Lower Houses later this year.

Roy Heale, a freelance writer who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is SDGLN's South America contributor. He writes about LGBT issues from the Latin American continent. To read more stories by Roy Heale, visit his website.