Transgender people 14-years-old and older in Chile will now be legally allowed to change their gender marker on official documents thanks to a bill signed into law by President Sebastian Pinera today. Chilean activists have been fighting for nearly five years to pass such a law, which human rights groups are praising as “historic,” according to Pink News.
“This historic decision marks a milestone for LGBTQ rights in Chile and in South America,” said Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb.
“We commend the efforts of all the LGBTQ advocates involved, including our Chilean partners at Fundación Iguales, who worked tirelessly for five years to achieve this victory. While this legislation removes roadblocks for many trans people, there is still important progress to be made – especially for transgender youth.”
The bill was first introduced in 2013 by former President Michelle Bachelet, whose second term ended in March of 2018. Years of debate followed, as well as opposition campaigns from conservative and religious groups in the country. Chile is often considered to be a conservative nation due to a large Catholic population. Abortion is illegal in the country with few exceptions, and until 2017 allowed no exceptions to the ban. It was also one of the last countries in the world to legalize divorce, keeping the practice illegal until 2004.