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News > Latin America

Venezuelan Supreme Court Accepts Landmark Trans Rights Case

  • LGBTI community members and activists march in Caracas, June 29, 2014.

    LGBTI community members and activists march in Caracas, June 29, 2014. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 June 2017

LGBTQ organizations in the country applauded the precedent-setting move.

The LGBTQ community in Venezuela is celebrating after the country’s Supreme Court accepted a petition submitted by a transgender rights group to allow gender and name changes.

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With the ruling published on the first of this month, the top court confirmed its acceptance of the legal request filed by five activists in April from the organization Divas of Venezuela, which requested the court recognize the right to “the identification and expression of self-perceived gender.”

It was submitted under article 20 of the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, which states that people have the right to the “free development of their personality.” The Supreme Court, known by its Spanish acronym TSJ in Venezuela, accepted the activists’ arguments that being unable to change their name or gender would result in discriminatory treatment and that their suffering would violate the constitutional provision.

The activists’ case will now be assessed on an individual basis, as they submit their reports of their marital status, birth certificate and a psychological and psychiatric medical report within the next two weeks.

The trans activists who submitted the petition.

“We congratulate this TSJ decision and we will fulfill all of the demands outlined in the decision to achieve the goals that we in the trans community have set for ourselves,” one of the activists, and a transgender lawyer, Richelle Briceño, told Venezuelanalysis.  

“We would expect no less given that we were simply making use of the constitutional principles that defend the rights that correspond to us as Venezuelan citizens,” she added.  

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Other LGBTQ organizations in the country applauded the ruling, with Egalitarian Venezuela hailing the decision as an “advance towards the recognition of the human rights of the transgender and transexual population, which has been historically and socially discriminated against.” However, the group was critical of the fac that psychological and psychiatric medical reports are required. 

The case has the potential to set a significant precedent in the country, as although current legislation does allow citizens to change their names, allowing the change of gender has yet to be included.

This victory for Venezuela's trans and queer community comes on the heels of a December 2016 Supreme Court decision that upheld the equal rights of children born in queer families.

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