I recently did a research paper on Argentina’s recent passing of same-sex marriage in 2010 and their gender identity law in 2012. Argentina is the first country in Latin America to pass nationwide marriage equality as well as the only country in the world with such lenient ways of allowing trans* folks to be able to change their gender markers on all of their documents as well as provide free surgical procedures and hormone therapy. There is even a clause that allows children under the age of 18 to be able to decide for themselves with a children’s lawyer whether or not they can partake in transitioning without their parents consent.
It’s interesting to note the passing of marriage equality in Argentina was at 33 to 27 in 2010, a very close call. Whereas the passing of the gender identity law was 55 to 0, unanimous in 2012. There have been a multitude of organizations started in Argentina that fight for queer rights. The most prominent one is Comunidad Homosexual Argentina, which was officially recognized in 1992. The queer/trans* rights movements have been occurring at the exact same time as they have been in the U.S. The queer folks in Argentina fought for decades to get recognized and it was not until the early 2000’s that their straight counterparts recognized them as equals.
There was even a schism, similar to that of what is going on now in the U.S. movement, where cisgender gay men dominated the visibility of the movement and left behind their lesbian and trans* siblings. (There’s no mention of bisexual folks, unfortunately.) Regardless, their efforts proved successful as they now have marriage equality as well as full coverage for trans* folks. The main thing that Argentina is missing is an anti-discrimination bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Argentina holds a particularly interesting distinction in that it is predominately Catholic and their government supports the Roman Catholic Church, and they were still able to pass both legislations. It really demonstrates that even developing countries in Latin America have the potential to be progressive, despite the resistance.
I think our communities and society can learn from this “third world” country that has made some of the most progressive legislation in the world! I hope that through Argentina’s movement toward justice of queer and trans* folks, the rest of the world can follow.