April 2, 2014 at 10:31 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Chilean Senate makes trans bill a priority

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)

The Chilean Senate on Tuesday moved to make a bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery a top priority.

The Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity said senators must release a draft of the measure within 15 days. It will then go before the lower house of the Chilean Congress if there are no objections.

“We celebrate this positive signal and a substantive advance, given the need for the recognition and legal coverage for gender identity,” said the group. “It marks a very important development in the recognition of legitimate rights.”

The Chilean Senate in January approved the measure by a 29-0 vote margin.

President Michelle Bachelet, who took office last month, included the trans rights bill in her campaign platform.

“The government is looking to quickly fill legal loopholes and conform to international agreements that will make Chile a more respectful country in regards of the rights of all people,” said the Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity. “[Chile will become a more] open and inclusive [country] that allows the full integration of a broad community of trans people and their families into society.”

Lawmakers in the South American country advanced the trans rights bill hours before an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the northern Chilean coast.

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

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