Argentina’s president issues first ID cards under new transgender rights law

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Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

In a ceremony at the government house this week, Argentina’s president gave out the first identity cards issued under the world’s most progressive transgender rights law.

The measure passed in May, with the support of a majority of lawmakers, including President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The law gives self-identified transgender people access to critical services without the need for medical intervention and provides for specific human rights protections.

The law also allows for transgender people to alter the gender and the name on their official documents, such as a government ID card, without receiving a psychiatric diagnosis or undergoing surgery.

Additionally, the law requires medical practitioners to provide free hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery for those who want it, including those under age 18.

During the government ceremony, the president, standing before an image of Eva Peron, said in Spanish, "Whoever opposed this initiative has not caught up with the times."

Argentina, she added, "is paving the way not only in the region but also in the world."

At the start of her speech, she said, "Today is a day of tremendous reparation, today we do not shout for liberation but instead we shout for equality, which is just as important as freedom."

"I do not want to use a word that bothers me greatly: Tolerance. No. I do not believe in 'tolerance,'" Fernández said. "To tolerate is to say I'll allow you to be because I have no other choice. I want to talk about equality, and I want to talk about all of you who will now have the same rights I have enjoyed from the moment I was born and the rights that so many millions of Argentinians have enjoyed from the moment they were born. This is the society we want."

Fernández also signed a decree closing a loophole that was prohibiting some in same-sex relationships from registering as co-parents of children born before the marriage equality law passed in 2010.

A video, in Spanish, of the president’s speech at the ceremony.

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