Friday, May 11, 2012

Argentina Passes Gender Rights Law

Via npr, Argentina's Senate, with a 55-0 vote, passed a law this week allowing anyone to change their legal and physical gender without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric, and medical procedures beforehand.

The article claims (and I believe it is an accurate claim, although others can chime in here) that no other country in the world currently allows that to happen. In the US, for instance, state laws regarding changing one's legal gender vary, but a person is often required to undergo sex affirmation surgery (also sometimes called sex reassignment surgery) prior to changing the gender on one's birth certificate.

Some quotes from the article:
"'The fact that there are no medical requirements at all — no surgery, no hormone treatment and no diagnosis — is a real game changer and completely unique in the world. It is light years ahead of the vast majority of countries, including the U.S., and significantly ahead of even the most advanced countries,' said [Justus] Eisfeld, who [is co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality and] researched the laws of the 47 countries for the Council of Europe's human rights commission.
Marcela Romero, who was born a man but got a sex-change operation 25 years ago, spent 10 years arguing in Argentina's courts before a judge ordered the civil registry to give her a new identity card listing her gender as female. 
'It's something humiliating ... many of us have had to endure psychiatric and physical tests," she told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'With this law we'll no longer have to go through this.' 
'This law is saying that we're not going to require you to live as a man or a woman, or to change your anatomy in some way. They're saying that what you say you are is what you are. And that's extraordinary,' said Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University bioethicist who wrote 'Fixing Sex,' a study of the legal and medical boundaries around gender identity issues in the United States. 
'Rather than our more sedimented ideas about what it is to be male or female, this sort of throws all of that up in the air in a really exciting way,' she said."
Indeed. This new law seems like a win for human autonomy and self-determination. 

Argentina also passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage two years ago.

*Cue the bigot slippery-slope panic*

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