November 14, 2014 at 12:41 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Mexico City lawmakers approve trans rights bill

Jacqueline L'Hoist Tapía, Mexico City Council to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, gay news, Washington Blade

Jacqueline L’Hoist Tapía, president of the Mexico City Council to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, supports transgender people’s ability to legally change their gender in the Mexican capital without a court order. (Photo by Angélica Pineda)

Mexico City lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their gender without a court order.

Members of Legislative Assembly of the Federal District, in which Mexico City is located, approved the measure by a 42-0 vote margin. Six lawmakers abstained from the vote on the measure that Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera proposed.

Manuel Granados Covarrubias of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, known by the Spanish acronym PRD, welcomed the proposal’s approval.

“It eliminates cumbersome trials and judicial proceedings, procedures, to generate the administrative change of a legal action to which everyone has the right,” said Granados in a press release the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District released after lawmakers approved the measure. “Their dignity is also recognized.”

The Mexico City Commission to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, known by its Spanish acronym COPRED, launched a campaign in support of the measure.

COPRED spokesperson René Said Nieto told the Washington Blade that Mexico City on Thursday “took a major step forward” towards the recognition of trans people.

“(The measure) guarantees the rights of people to the recognition of their gender identity,” said the Human Rights Program of the Federal District in a statement.

Mexico City is the first city in Latin America to allow trans people to legally change the gender on their birth certificates without a medical examination. The Mexican capital’s comprehensive anti-discrimination law already includes gender identity and expression and designates transphobia as a form of discrimination.

Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2012 signed a law that allows trans Argentinians to legally change their gender on official documents without sex-reassignment surgery and an affidavit from a doctor or another medical provider. The Chilean Senate next week is expected to vote on a bill that would allow trans people in the South American country to legally change their name and sex without sex-reassignment surgery.

Supporters of Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, credit her with successfully lobbying her father’s government to begin offering free sex-reassignment surgery under the country’s national health care system in 2008.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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