BUENOS AIRES – Argentina became the first country in Latin America to officially recognize non-gender-based people, who can now choose to have their gender marked with an X on their national identity documents and passports if they do not identify themselves as female or male.
The change introduced by presidential decree Alberto Fernandez is the latest example of how he made it a priority empower women and sexual minorities… It came just weeks after he signed into law a law that would set aside one percent of the nation’s public sector jobs for transgender people, which Congress approved in June.
“We have a need to broaden our horizons and realize that there are other ways to love and be loved, and there are other identities besides the identity of the man and the personality of the woman,” Mr. Fernandez said Wednesday at a ceremony where he introduced the first three national identity documents with non-binary markers. “And they need to be respected.”
Argentina joins a number of other countries, including New Zealand, Canada and Australia, as well as several US states that allow the use of a non-binary gender marker on identity documents.
Last month, the US State Department said it was working to create a gender marker for people who identify as non-binary. in passports and certificates of citizenship… The use of X for gender is accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“This is the first time I can give my full name and feel like it’s legal,” said Jeronimo Carolina Gonzalez Devesa, a 35-year-old doctor who was one of those who received a new national identity document on Wednesday. “This is the end of a long battle.”
Dr. Gonzalez changed the gender on his 2018 birth certificate, which went down in history by winning a legal battle to become the first person in the country to be allowed to leave the field blank.
But the doctor was not allowed to obtain a national identity document without gender, which means they actually had no documents. The situation caused “constant concern,” said the doctor, who often uses them as a personal pronoun like many other non-binary people.
Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti, 27, described it as “agony” to produce a document that does not reflect their true identity after a legal battle that ended in 2019 when a judge gave permission for their gender to be listed on their birth certificate as “NB “For nonbinary.
“I am very pleased with this new document,” they said a day after receiving it. “It gives me peace of mind when I submit my document with my real name.”
One person who announced plans to obtain a new non-binary identity document is the president’s 26-year-old child, a performer named Dykhzy.
“I consider myself a non-binary person”, Dykhzy reported this live on Instagram…
Since taking office in December 2019, Mr. Fernandez, the center-left leader, has made extensive efforts to liberalize Argentina’s laws, with a particular focus on gender equality, identity and sexual orientation. At the end of last year, Argentina made history as the most populous country in Latin America. legalize abortion,; he also legalized growing marijuana for medicinal use.
The President tried to use a more gender-neutral language in government communications. This is a daunting task for the Spanish language, which treats every noun as masculine or feminine and traditionally uses masculine plural forms of nouns and adjectives to refer to mixed groups.
Mr Fernandez said on Wednesday that he often tells Elisabeth Gomez Alcorta, Argentina’s Minister for Women, Gender and Diversity, “Let’s take advantage of our power and let’s do our best.”
The new documents were not without controversy, as one person who received the new document on Wednesday wore a T-shirt that read: “We are not X”.
Later, Mr. Fernandez remarked that a non-binary marker was not a perfect solution. He hoped that someday this might not be necessary and that everyone would be treated in a gender-neutral way.
“This is a step that I hope will end the day when identity cards do not indicate whether someone is male or female or anyone else,” said Mr Fernandez. “This is what we really need to achieve.”