Uruguay approves ground-breaking trans rights reform

Uruguay’s Congress passed a ground-breaking new law granting rights to trans people on Thursday (October 18), which includes a process of self-identification in official documents.

The new law, which had already been approved by the Senate, lets trans people use their preferred gender and change their legal name without getting approval from a judge. It also sets out provisions for state-funded gender affirmation surgery and hormone treatment.

The law ensures trans people are allowed the “free development of personality according to their chosen gender identity, irrespective of their biological, genetic, anatomical, morphological (or) hormonal.”

Trans people in Uruguay have legally been able to change their gender on official documents since 2009.

The new law also requires one percent of government jobs to be given to trans people over the next 15 years.

And it creates a pension for trans people born before December 1975, which is intended to act as compensation for those who were persecuted under Uruguay’s military dictatorship from 1973 to 1985.

The latest piece of legislation has been praised by trans rights groups and LGBT+ campaigners in the country.

The passing of the law was met with applause and a standing ovation from trans campaigners in the lower chamber.

Trans campaigners have pushed for the new law. (Ley Trans Ya/Facebook)

Trans rights organisation Ley Trans Ya posted on Facebook following the vote: “It’s law. Uruguay is a fairer and equal country.”

A number of countries across the world have passed laws allowing trans and non-binary people to self-identify their gender, including the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, and Norway.

The UK government recently closed the public consultation for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which received more than 53,000 responses and could also involve introducing a self-identification system.

Many LGBT+ campaigners noted the contrast between Uruguay’s latest step towards trans equality compared to the rollback of protections for trans people in the US.

A recent leaked memo showed that the Trump administration is currently including re-defining the definition of sex on official documents to effectively exclude trans people.

“While the US is considering using genetic testing to erase trans people from federal law, Uruguay just passed a law to fund hormone therapy and gender affirmative surgery, and pays REPARATIONS to trans people who were persecuted,” one person wrote on Twitter.