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Transgender rights in Argentina

The flag of Argentina merged with the transgender pride flag.

Transgender and travesti rights in Argentina have been lauded by many as some of the world's most progressive.[1][2] The country "has one of the world's most comprehensive transgender rights laws":[3] its Gender Identity Law, passed in 2012, made Argentina the "only country that allows people to change their gender identities without facing barriers such as hormone therapy, surgery or psychiatric diagnosis that labels them as having an abnormality".[4][5] In 2015, the World Health Organization cited Argentina as an exemplary country for providing transgender rights.[5] Leading transgender activists include Lohana Berkins, Diana Sacayán, Mariela Muñoz, María Belén Correa, Marlene Wayar, Claudia Pía Baudracco, Susy Shock and Lara Bertolini.

Currently,[as of?] Argentine trans activists are pushing for anti-discrimination and employment quota laws, as well as to stop killings of trans people.[6]

The "Day of the Promotion of the Rights of Trans People" is celebrated in the city of Buenos Aires and in Santa Fe Province on March 18, in memory of activist Claudia Pía Baudracco.[7][8]


News from Caras y Caretas in 1902, describing the detention of an indigenous "man-woman" in Viedma, Río Negro

In 1997, Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti-Transsexual was created to defend the rights of transgender people. One of its first victories came in 2006 when the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that had stated that transgender people did not have a legal right to organize and campaign for their rights.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that a 17-year-old had the legal right to go through the sex change process and have her legal documents changed to reflect the operation.[9]

In 2009, Marcela Romero won the legal right to have her identity changed, and was given an honorary title by the government. She was awarded by the Honorable Congress woman of the year. Romero remains one of the leading advocates for the human rights of transgender people in Argentina.[10]

In 2012, senators unanimously approved the "Gender Law".

In mid-2018, the Santa Fe Province cities of Rosario and Santa Fe announced the incorporation of several trans people to the Historical Reparation program, which gives pensions to victims of the last military dictatorship. Newspaper Página/12 considered that "the action, unprecedented at a national level and throughout Latin America, establishes a new standard in public policies."[11]

On June 18, 2018, a Buenos Aires court sentenced Gabriel David Marino to life imprisonment for the murder of transgender activist Diana Sacayán.[12] For the first time in history, the Argentine Justice acknowledged that the murder was "a hate crime against the travesti identity", known as "travesticide"[13] or "transvesticide"[12] (Spanish: travesticidio; a portmanteau of "travesti" and "homicide").[14] The ruling was widely celebrated by LGBT activists and has been considered "one more example of the [social] changes underway in Argentina."[14]

On March 1, 2019, trans activist Lara María Bertolini was allowed to change her official sex to the transfeminine non-binary label "travesti femininity" through a judicial ruling that was considered a landmark for the travesti movement. Buenos Aires judge Myriam Cataldi felt that the Gender Identity Law applied to Bertolini's case, citing the law's definition of "gender identity" as: "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."[15]

On March 19, 2019, Neuquén Province announced a pension for trans people who are older than forty years and do not have registered employment. They will receive a monthly economic contribution as part of a Historical Reparation program, which "recognizes the systematic violation of their rights".[16]

On 20 July 2021, President Alberto Fernández signed Decreto 476/2021, mandating the National Registry of Persons (RENAPER) to allow a third gender option on all national identity cards and passports, marked as an "X". The measure applies to non-citizen permanent residents who possess Argentine identity cards as well.[17] In compliance with the 2012 Gender Identity Law, this made Argentina one of the few countries in the world to legally recognize non-binary gender on all official documentation.[18][19][20] The 2022 national census, carried out less than a year after the resolution was implemented, counted 8,293 (roughly 0.12%) of the country's population identifying with the "X / other" gender marker.[21]

Gender Identity Law

The Ley de Género (Gender Law)[22] grants adults sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy as a part of their public or private health care plans. The law also allows for changes to gender, image, or birth name on civil registries without the approval of a doctor or a judge.[4] In 2013 a six-year-old girl named Luana, who was designated male at birth, became the first transgender child in Argentina to have her new name officially changed on her identity documents. She is believed to be the youngest to benefit from the country's Gender Identity Law.[23]

The law made Argentina the "only country that allows people to change their gender identities without facing barriers such as hormone therapy, surgery or psychiatric diagnosis that labels them as having an abnormality".[4][5] In 2015, the World Health Organization cited Argentina as an exemplary country for providing transgender rights.[5]

Trans employment quota in the public sector

On 4 September 2020, President Alberto Fernández signed Decreto 721/2020, which established a 1% employment quota for trans and travesti people in the national public sector. The measure had been previously debated in the Chamber of Deputies as various prospective bills.[24] The decree mandates that at any given point, at least 1% of all public sector workers in the national government must be transgender, as understood in the 2012 Gender Identity Law.[25] The initiative had previously been proposed by Argentine trans and travesti activists such as Diana Sacayán, whose efforts led to the promotion of such laws at the provincial level in Buenos Aires Province in 2015.[26]

On 25 June 2021, the Argentine Senate passed a law mandating the continuity of Decreto 721/2020. The new law, called Promoción del Acceso al Empleo Formal para personas Travestis, Transexuales y Transgénero "Diana Sacayán - Lohana Berkins" ("Promotion of Access to Formal Employment for Travesti, Transsexual and Transgender People Diana Sacayán - Lohana Berkins"), also establishes economic incentives for businesses in the private sector that employ travesti and trans workers, and gives priority in credit lines to trans-owned small businesses.[27][28]

See also


  1. ^ Pitchon, Allie (June 27, 2018). "Transgender Rights in Argentina: A Story of Progress, Turbulence, and Contradictions". The Bubble. Archived from the original on May 31, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  2. ^ Schmall, Emily (May 24, 2012). "Transgender Advocates Hail Law Easing Rules in Argentina". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (March 24, 2016). "Argentina joins global LGBT rights initiative". Washington Blade. Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Archived from the original on November 22, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Argentina OKs transgender rights: ID changes, sex-change operations and hormone therapy". The Washington Post. 9 May 2012. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Lahrichi, Kamilia; La Valle, Leo (April 4, 2016). "Argentina's Field of Dreams for the LGBT". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Archived from the original on November 22, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Máximo, Matías (14 October 2015). "Por ser puto, torta o trans". Revista Anfibia (in Spanish). UNSAM. Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  7. ^ "La provincia conmemora el Día de Promoción de los Derechos de las Personas Trans" (in Spanish). Government of Santa Fe Province. March 18, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Se conmemora por primera vez el Día de la Promoción de los Derechos de las Personas Trans" (in Spanish). Télam. March 18, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Argentina autoriza por primera vez una operación de cambio de sexo a un menor" [Argentine authorises change-of-sex surgery for the first time] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: El Mundo. EFE. 26 September 2007. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  10. ^ "Fighting stigma against sexual minorities in Latin America". UNAIDS. 19 September 2006. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  11. ^ "La lucha de las trans". Página/12 (in Spanish). June 13, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Killer handed life sentence for brutal murder in historic transvesticide trial". Buenos Aires Herald. June 18, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  13. ^ Radi, Blas; Sardá-Chandiramani, Alejandra (2016). "Travesticide / transfemicide: Coordinates to think crimes against travestis and trans women in Argentina" (PDF). Bulletin of the Gender Observatory of the Justice of the City of Buenos Aires. Acta Académica. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Centenera, Mar (June 19, 2018). "Condena inédita en Argentina por el travesticidio de la activista Diana Sacayán". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  15. ^ Iglesias, Mariana (March 1, 2019). "Ni femenino ni masculino: su documento dirá "femineidad travesti"". Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Loncopan Berti, Laura (March 19, 2019). "Entregarán una "Reparación Histórica" a las personas trans mayores de 40 años en Neuquén". Diario Río Negro (in Spanish). Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "Decreto 476/2021". Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina (in Spanish). 20 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Alberto Fernández pondrá en marcha el DNI para personas no binarias". Ámbito (in Spanish). 20 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Identidad de género: el Gobierno emitirá un DNI para personas no binarias". La Nación (in Spanish). 21 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  20. ^ Westfall, Sammy (22 July 2021). "Argentina rolls out gender-neutral ID". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  21. ^ Censo nacional de población, hogares y viviendas 2022: resultados provisionales (PDF) (in Spanish). January 2023. p. 33. ISBN 978-950-896-632-2. Retrieved 12 July 2022. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  22. ^ [1] Archived 16 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Bowater, Donna (27 September 2013). "Six-year-old becomes first transgender child in Argentina to change identity". The Telegraph. Rio de Janeiro. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014.
  24. ^ "Por decreto, el Gobierno estableció un cupo laboral para travestis, transexuales y transgénero". Infobae (in Spanish). 4 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  25. ^ "El Gobierno decretó el cupo laboral trans en el sector público nacional". La Nación (in Spanish). 4 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Derecho al trabajo: así está el mapa del cupo laboral travesti-trans en Argentina". Agencia Presentes (in Spanish). 4 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  27. ^ "En las redes sociales se festejó la ley de cupo laboral travesti trans". Télam (in Spanish). 25 June 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  28. ^ Valente, Marcela (25 June 2021). "Transgender job quota law seen 'changing lives' in Argentina". Reuters. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
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Transgender rights in Argentina
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