London, 24 May 2012
On 9 May 2012, the Argentine Senate unanimously passed the Gender Identity Act. The new law has been hailed as the most progressive and liberal in the world. Recognising that a person's subjectively felt and self-defined gender may or may not correspond with the gender assigned at birth, the Law establishes the right to change one's registered gender and name on demand, without requiring any form of medical procedure or hormone therapy as a pre-condition.
The law also provides a right to access any desired medical treatment at no extra cost. In addition, the Law grants all people in Argentina the right to be treated in accordance with their gender identity and to be identified as such in all identity documents and registers.
Identity Documents and Registers
Article 4 enables any person over the age of 18 to amend their gender, first name(s) and image in official registers and identity documents. These amendments can be made on demand, free of charge and without any requirement that the person in question has undergone, or will be undergoing, hormonal therapy, surgical gender reassignment or any other medical or psychological treatment related to their gender identity.
Protection of Rights
Article 7 establishes that amendments will not affect the individual's pre-existing rights or juridical obligations, whilst Article 9 protects the privacy of the individual by guaranteeing the confidentiality of amendments to identity documents and prohibiting the publication of any amendments in the official diary of newly registered names.
Article 11 provides that all persons over the age of 18 have the right to undertake gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to adapt their body in accordance with their self-defined gender identity, without any requirement for judicial or administrative authorisation. Under the provision, access to hormonal treatments is not to be dependent on meeting any criteria, such as an intention to proceed with surgical intervention. All treatments are to be made available at no charge and must be included in the “Obligatory Medical Plan” offered by public and private healthcare providers.
The Law also contains special provisions for minors, in Articles 5 and 10. Amendments to the official documents of those under the age of 18 can only be effected by a legal guardian, with the express agreement of the minor, and in accordance with the principles of the evolving capacities and the best interest of the child established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Similarly, medical treatment can only be granted to a minor with their informed consent and any surgical intervention must also have judicial authorisation, which must be given in accordance with the above principles.
To read the Gender Identity Law in Spanish click here