Argentina Formally Recognizes Nonbinary People, a Latin American First
BUENOS AIRES – Argentina became the first country in Latin America to officially recognize gender non-binary people, who can now choose to have their gender marked with an X on their national identity documents and passports if they do not identify as female or male.
The change, enacted by decree of President Alberto Fernández, is the latest example of how he has made expanding the rights of women and sexual minorities a priority. It comes weeks after he enacted a measure that reserves one percent of the nation’s public sector jobs for transgender people, which Congress approved in June.
“We need to broaden our minds and realize that there are other ways of loving and being loved and that there are other identities besides the identity of man and woman. ‘woman’s identity, “Fernández said Wednesday at a ceremony where he presented the first three national identity documents with non-binary markers. “And they must be respected.”
Argentina joins several other countries, including New Zealand, Canada and Australia, as well as several US states, that allow a non-binary gender marker in identity documents.
Last month, the US State Department said it was working on creating a gender marker for people who identify as non-binary in passports and citizenship certificates. The use of X to mark a gender is accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“For the first time, I can say my full name and feel like it’s legal,” said Gerónimo Carolina González Devesa, a 35-year-old doctor who was among those who received a new coin on Wednesday. national identity. “This is the end of a long battle.
Dr González changed the gender on his birth certificate in 2018, making history by winning a legal battle to become the first person in the country to be allowed to leave the field empty.
But the doctor was not allowed to obtain national ID without specifying a gender, meaning they were effectively undocumented. The situation caused “constant anxiety,” said the doctor, who often uses them as their personal pronouns, as do many other non-binary people.
Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti, 27, described it as a “torment” to have to present a document that did not represent their true identity after a legal battle that ended in 2019 with a judge allowing their gender to be entered on their birth certificate as “NB” for non-binary.
“I’m so happy with this new document,” they said one day after receiving it. “It gives me the peace of mind to present my document with my real name. “
One person who has announced plans to get a new, non-binary identity document is the president’s 26-year-old child, an artist named Dyhzy.
“I consider myself to be a non-binary person,” Dyhzy said in a live video on Instagram.
Since taking office in December 2019, Mr. Fernández, a center-left leader, has made a broad effort to liberalize Argentina’s laws, with particular emphasis on gender equality and identity and sexual orientation. At the end of last year, Argentina made history by becoming the most populous country in Latin America to legalize abortion; it also legalized the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The president also made an effort to use more neutral language in government communications. It’s a challenge in Spanish, which treats each noun as masculine or feminine, and traditionally uses the masculine forms of plural nouns and adjectives to apply to mixed groups.
Fernández said on Wednesday that he frequently told Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Argentina’s Minister for Women, Gender and Diversity, “let’s take advantage of the fact that we are in power and do all we can”.
The new documents did not come without controversy, as one person who received a new document on Wednesday was wearing a t-shirt that read: “We are not ‘X’.”
Mr. Fernández later noted that the non-binary marker was not an ideal solution. He expressed the hope that one day this would not be necessary and that everyone would be mentioned in non-sexist terms.
“This is a step that I hope will come to an end when the ID cards don’t tell if someone is male or female or whatever,” Fernández said. “This is what we really need to achieve.”
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