By John Clise
Argentina has officially become the first Latin American country to recognize gender nonbinary people. Gender nonbinary people can now mark their gender as an X on their national identity documents and passports if they do not identify as either female or male.
According to government documents, the new status will allow “non-binary, undetermined, unspecified, undefined, not informed, self-perceived, not recorded; or another meaning with which the person who does not feel included in the masculine/feminine binary could identify.”
“There are identities that always existed, but were hidden. We must respect them because when we deny them, we deprive many people of the possibility of being happy,” Argentinian President Alberto Fernández tweeted.
Fernández said that the X designation is not an ideal solution and that he hopes gender-neutral terms will be used universally in the future.
Argentina legalized same sex marriage in 2010, and was the 10th country to do so. Same-sex marriage became legal in Brazil and Uruguay in 2013 and Colombia in 2016. However, those successes have slowed greatly.
This new recognition is extremely important for gender nonbinary people in Latin America. Murder rates in the LGBTQ community continue to increase.
According to Transrespect.org, “the TDoR 2020 update reveals a total of 350 trans and gender-diverse people registered murdered between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020, representing a 6% increase in reported murders from the 2019 update. The majority of the murders occurred in Brazil (152), Mexico (57), and the USA (28), adding up to a total of 3664 reported cases in 75 countries and territories worldwide between 1 January 2008 and 30 September 2020.”
The White House recently released a statement regarding LGTBQ rights that said in part, “The State Department announced that it is updating agency procedures to remove burdensome medical documentation requirements for transgender Americans who wish to update their gender markers on their passports and other citizenship or identity documents. The State Department also announced that it is beginning the process to add a third gender marker for gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex Americans, and will work closely with interagency partners to ensure as smooth a travel experience as possible for all passport holders.”