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News > Argentina

Argentina: 1st LatAm Country to Issue IDs for Non-Binary People

  • In Argentina, the President has signed a decree to legally recognize non-binary people.

    In Argentina, the President has signed a decree to legally recognize non-binary people. | Photo: Twitter/@ScotCuthbertson

Published 21 July 2021

Argentina made history on Wednesday in terms of civil rights by becoming the first country in Latin America to authorize the issuance of the National Identity Card (DNI) and passport for non-binary people, that is, those who do not identify with the male or female genders.

"The ideal will be when everyone will be everyone, and no one will care about the sex of the people," said President Alberto Fernández when celebrating the decree at the Bicentennial Museum, in a ceremony in which the first DNI were delivered to three non-binary people, which guarantees their self-perceived gender identity.

Thanks to this measure, from now on, the official documents will include the nomenclature 'X,' an option to which the interested persons will be able to have access as soon as they carry out the procedure to change them.


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Argentina is the first country in Latin America to enable through the new decree the possibility of entering a different option in the "sex" field of the DNI, in line with the modification already carried out by other countries in the world such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The decree published this Wednesday in the Official Gazette explained that the right to gender identity is inherent to the right to one's own identity and is part of the field of human rights.

"The right to identity has a direct and indissoluble link with the right to not suffer discrimination, to health, to privacy, and to realize one's own life plan. It is constituted as a generic concept that joins other rights that protect various aspects of the person," he added.

The regulation specified that every person has the right to the recognition of their gender identity, to its free development, and to be treated in accordance with their gender identity and, in particular, to be recognized as such in the instruments that accredit their identity concerning the first names, image, and sex with which they are registered therein.

It also clarified that 'gender identity refers to "the internal and individual experience of gender as each person feels it, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth, including the personal experience of the body."

The decision benefits people who adhere to identities such as non-binary, indeterminate, unspecified, undefined, uninformed, self-perceived, or unregistered, and who felt violated by having to forcibly choose 'male' or 'female' in their official documents.

The Argentine decree recognized that, although the nomenclature 'X' for 'unspecified sex' has not yet been unanimously accepted worldwide, there are different gender policies in countries such as Nepal, which in 2007 established a third gender, as has been the case in Pakistan since 2009 and in Bangladesh, where since 2013 there has been a term for transsexual or intersex people, which allows them to reduce discrimination in education and medical care.

"LIVE: President Alberto Fernandez announces the launch of the DNI for non-binary people."

In India, since 2009, the option 'other' can be chosen, while in Canada, they issue birth certificates with an 'X' instead of 'female' or 'male,' and the change can also be requested in passports.

During the ceremony, the president explained that throughout history, there were always human beings who felt neither male nor female and that societies had a hard time accepting that diversity.

"It cost them so much that they did something unforgivable, which was to hide, to deny, to put them to the side so that no one would see them," he said when defending the use of inclusive language, whether through the 'x's or the 'e.'

In response to a person who had loudly claimed, "We are not an X," Fernandez explained that this letter was adopted because it is possible to adopt international conventions to recognize a non-binary category.

"By not talking about it, we take away the possibility of being happy to millions of people. We must celebrate that everyone finds happiness in their own way; in Argentina, we continue to take steps every day," she said to emphasize the importance of now being included in this way that can still change in the future.

After recalling the struggles that culminated in the laws on equal marriage, the transvestite labor quota, and gender equality in the media, the president acknowledged that there are still pending rights.

"This is a step we are taking that I hope will end the day that in the DNI they will not ask anyone if they are a man or a woman or whatever they want because that is what we really have to achieve, what does it matter to the State to know the sexual orientation of its citizens?" he questioned.

Earlier, the Minister of the Interior, Wado de Pedro, and the Minister of Women, Genders, and Diversity, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, celebrated the historic nature of the decree.

"When a government generates an expansion of rights it is because before there was a collective struggle, a society that generated a consensus, a pressure, a claim, this measure that we take today has to do with the architects of this achievement so that we begin to put an end to a binary logic that does not contemplate a large part of society," said De Pedro.

"We know that patriarchy and the binary system are still in force (...) today we are moving forward so that the fundamental human right of identity is equal for everyone. Discrimination has lasted too long," added Gómez Alcorta.

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