SANTIAGO – Changing your identity in Chile will soon be an easier process. The Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that will allow Chileans to change the gender posted on their identification cards.
The gender identity law passed the Chamber of Deputies with a vote of 95 in favor, while 46 voted it down. Now, President Sebastian Pinera has to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do.
Emilia Schneider is a transgender woman and she tells Chile Today that this new law is a win for the transgender community here in Chile, but that progress can’t stop here. “It’s not just about being able to change your gender on your identification card, rather, we have to truly be a part of the society and this means education, health care, work, and pension,” said Schneider.
Opposition against the law
“There’s a lot of problems with discrimination,” says Matias Valenzuela Cortez, who is a legal advisor for OTD Chile, a transgender advocacy organization. They have been on the forefront pushing for this gender identity law for years. “They don’t have a national identity document that shows their gender with the identity that they feel,” says Valenzuela Cortez. He says, it took about five years for this law to pass.
Not everyone is in support of this new law. Some politicians have cited concerns over the part of the law that allows children over the age of 14 to also change their posted gender with the consent of a legal guardian.
The law is expected to go into effect in 2020.
Anthony Hill is a multimedia journalist for Chile Today. He was born in the Bronx, New York and is currently living in Santiago, Chile. He double majored in journalism and political science at the State University of New York at Oswego. Before coming to Chile Today, he was a reporter for the NBC station in western Massachusetts.