January 21, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Chilean transgender rights bill advances

National Congress of Chile, gay news, Washington Blade

National Congress of Chile (Photo by the Photographic Collection of the Library of the National Congress of Chile; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A bill that would allow transgender Chileans to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery advanced in the country’s Senate on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in the South American nation by a 29-0 vote margin approved the measure that would also allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations. Three lawmakers abstained.

“Our lawmakers have recognized our dignity,” Andrés Ignacio Duarte Rivera, founder of the Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity, a Chilean trans advocacy group, told the Washington Blade after the vote.

Other Chilean LGBT rights activists also applauded senators for backing the bill.

“To be called by the name that you want and to be identified with the sex of which we are part is a human right that nobody can deny,” said Paula Dinamarca of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in a press release her organization issued after the vote.

The deadline for submitting proposed amendments to the bill is March 3.

President-elect Michelle Bachelet, who regained the Chilean presidency last month after defeating Evelyn Matthei, supports the proposal. She also backs marriage rights for same-sex couples in the South American country.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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