Monday, April 23, 2012

Argentina on the verge of adopting a far-reaching transgender rights law

Photo: Claudia Pia Baudracco, founding member of the Argentinean Travesti, Transexual and Transgender Association.

Taking the next step in becoming the most progressive Latin American nation on LGBT issues, Argentina is poised to adopt a far-reaching gender identity law that would grant transgender individuals the right to change their name and gender on their official identification records.  From ABS-CBN:
Pending in Congress since 2007, the bill hurdled Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies in December last year, with majority (167-17) voting in favor of it. It is now being debated in the Senate. If it becomes law, the bill is seen to benefit not only Argentina’s transsexuals or those who have had sex reassignment surgery.

Under the proposed measure, anyone who wants to change his or her gender and name no longer has to get a court order and comply with stringent requirements. He or she just has to go the Registro Naciona de las Personas (National Registry of Persons) with a request. Those below 18 have to get the consent of legal representatives, like parents and guardians.

The new gender and name will be used in one’s birth certificate, national identity card, and other government records.

The bill also requires government to subsidize the cost of surgery, hormone treatment, and other medical procedures for those who wish to have physical sex change.
As the article indicates, after passing the Chamber of Deputies by an overwhelming margin back in December, the bill was set to be introduced in the Senate last week.  Instead, it was side-tracked by emergency legislative action stemming from President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's decision last week to nationalize the YFP oil company from Spain.

AG Magazine says that they now expect the bill to reach the Argentinean Senate floor on May 2nd.

[Update (4/24/12): A Senate committee approved a draft of the bill that is identical to the one passed by the Chamber of Deputies.  The bill is expected to reach the Senate floor on May 9th and there are sufficient votes to insure its pasage, according to Parliamento. President Kirchner is expected to sign the bill into law once it reaches her desk.]

In the meantime, the team that produced this amazing transgender rights public service announcement for the Argentinean LGBT Federation (FALGBT) and the Argentinean Travesti, Transexual and Transgender Association (ATTTA) are back!  Director Juan Pablo Félix and Producer Matías Romero have launched this 2:30 minute spot featuring some of the leading advocates behind the push for the law.

Poignantly, it includes some of the last images captured of Claudia Pía Baudracco, a founding member of the Argentinean transgender rights movement who died of natural causes on March 18th at 42 years of age.

Baudracco always told her friends she dreamed to become the first transgender president of Argentina. She passed away before being able to see her ID reflect who she really was and before passage of a law in which she had such an integral part of making it a reality.

She leaves an impressive legacy and her spirit will undoubtedly be celebrated when the bill is signed into law.

Argentina became the first nation in Latin America to pass a comprehensive marriage equality law in 2010.

Related: Last week by a vote of 203 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention the Argentinean Chamber of Deputies also approved a bill that would increase penalties for hate crimes committed based on “gender or sexual orientation, gender identity or its expression".  The bill now goes to the Senate as well.

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