Could Argentina's groundbreaking gender law work in Canada?
An Argentinean citizen holds a placard that reads "my identity, my right". Argentina's new gender identity law, which went into effect Monday, allows people to change their gender in public records, including birth certificates and national identity cards. (Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press)
UPDATE June 13: Ontario is expected to amend its Human Rights Code on Wednesday to prevent discrimination based on "gender identity" and "gender expression." This will make Ontario the only North American jurisdiction outside the Northwest Territories to explicitly recognize the rights of transgender people.
Original post June 5:
Argentina broke new ground on Monday with the implementation of an unprecedented gender identity law, which lifts barriers for those who want to change their names and sexes on official documents.
The unique legislation puts the ability to decide gender identity squarely in the hands of individuals, bypassing the interrogation or approval of judges, doctors or other professionals.
Pedro Paradiso Sottile, coordinator of legal counsel of the Homosexual Community of Argentina, said the law validates the human rights of a marginalized community.
"It is an act of justice and reparation, a cry for freedom and dignity in the face years of complicit silence, of exclusion and discrimination against people based on self-perceived gender identity," he said in Spanish following last month's decision.
The legislation, which won unanimous approval in a Senate vote last month, hinges on "the internal and individual experience of gender as each person feels." It is a marked departure from the policies of other countries, which generally forbid, discourage or micromanage citizen's bids to adjust the identities with which they were born.
Transgender people can also request new photographs on their updated documentation.
When the law went into effect Monday, a lineup of people formed outside the civil registry in Buenos Aires to take immediate advantage of their new rights.
"It's important to have the freedom to decide by myself and not have anyone deciding it instead of me," said Silvana Daniela Sosa, who was born Miguel Angel Sosa.
-- With files from the Associated Press
What's your take on Argentina's new gender identity law? Do you think similar legislation should be implemented in Canada?
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