Chilean Transgender Name Bill Passes Legislature

After five years, Chile’s congress approved a bill allowing transgender people older than 14 to change their name and gender in official records, reported Reuters.

It was approved on Wednesday of last week (September 12), despite intense lobbying by the Catholic Church and conservative political parties.

The law, which was first introduced in 2013, was fiercely contested by conservative parties until it was edited to no longer include children under 14. Minors older than 14 may only change their official name and gender with the consent of a parent or guardian.

Center-right President Sebastián Piñera has 30 days to either reject the bill or sign it into law.

The bill, which defines gender identity as a personal conviction of whether a person sees themselves as male or female, regardless of their physical state or the gender or name assigned to them, has received some backlash by conservative Chileans.

Ivan Moreira, a senator from Chile’s conservative UDI party, described the law as an “aberration” that would divide families.

However, LGBTQ activists, like the Foundation for Equal Rights, believe the law will help make the country more inclusive if passed.

“This is a milestone in the recognition of the right to gender identity of trans people and a tremendous triumph for adolescents between 14 and 18 years old, who will be able to benefit from this initiative,” said Jimena Lizama, legal director of the foundation.

This is not the first progressive law recently passed in Chile. In August of 2017, the Constitutional Court partially lifted a ban on abortion, allowing it if a woman’s life was in danger, if she was carrying an nonviable fetus, or if she became pregnant as a result of rape.