Just a month before the world celebrates Gay Pride Week, Chile passed a law that allows transgender citizens to change their name and sex on state registries without needing a sex-change operation. At the same time, Ecuador recognize a lesbian couple's legal right to adopt a child. These and other monumental LGBTQI+ legal precedents in Latin America over the past decade are recalling the queer and transgender revolutionaries who began the movement more than 50 years ago.
The constitution states that all persons are born free and are equal in terms of the law and dignity; however, it does not specifically identify groups protected from discrimination. The 2012 antidiscrimination law provides civil legal remedies to victims of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic situation,... Expand
The constitution states that all persons are born free and are equal in terms of the law and dignity; however, it does not specifically identify groups protected from discrimination. The 2012 antidiscrimination law provides civil legal remedies to victims of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic situation, language, ideology or political opinion, religion or belief, association or participation in union organizations or lack thereof, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, marriage status, age, affiliation, personal appearance, and sickness or physical disability. The law also increases criminal penalties for acts of violence based on discrimination.
The law does not criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between consenting adults. The law sets the age of consent at 18 for homosexual sexual activity; heterosexual activity is permitted, under some circumstances, at age 14. Antidiscrimination laws exist and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In February, MOVILH reported that it tracked 143 cases of discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity during 2013.
Violence against LGBT individuals continued; as of September three LGBT persons were killed by assailants who allegedly made direct reference to their victims’ sexuality during the attack. All cases were under investigation, and none had come to trial.
Law enforcement authorities appeared reluctant to use the full recourse of a 2012 antidiscrimination law, including charging assailants of LGBT victims with a hate crime, which would elevate criminal penalties as permitted under the law. For instance, Wladimir Sepulveda died on April 6 from injuries sustained when he was attacked in a public place in October 2013. Witnesses alleged that his assailants uttered homophobic slurs while they beat him. As of September the judiciary failed to charge any of the alleged assailants with a hate crime, and all remained free on bail.
Laws prevent transgender persons from changing gender markers on government-issued identity documents, including national identity cards and university diplomas, to match their outward appearance or chosen expression. In a televised news conference on August 27, Mauricio Ruiz, a member of the country’s navy, announced that he was gay, becoming the first active-duty service member to declare his status. Minister of Defense Jorge Burgos declared Ruiz’s action “a very important step”; Minister of Justice Jose Antonio Gomez stated, “We should respect the diversity of Chilean society.”
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Global Rights, Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (MOVILH), Organización de Transexuales Masculinos submission to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2007): Chile: Shadow Report on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, MOVILH submission to CRC (2007): Chile: Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Human Rights of LGBT Adolescents
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, International Coalition of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW Latina), Abracemos A Un Amigo, Alma Viva - Rancagua, Amisex, Acción Gay, Arco Iris, Chile Igualdad para Todos, Fundación Iguales, Fundación Margen, Fundación Savia, Juntos Por La Vida, Mesa intersuroriente prevención en VIH del Sotero del Rió - Santiago, Nefertiti, Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad, de la Diversidad (OTD), Pucara, Rompiendo El Silencio submissino to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2014): Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in Chile
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Observatorio de Derechos Humanos – Chile submission to United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2015): The Situation of Trans and Intersex Children in ChileContract
A gay victim of sexual abuse said he received a moving message of support from Pope Francis. Juan Carlos Cruz met with the leader of the Catholic Church last week, in order to discuss the abuse he suffered at the hands of Father Fernando Karadima. The Chilean Catholic priest was found guilty of sexually abusing minors by the Vatican in 2011, and Cruz is one of the survivors. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Cruz recounted how the subject of his sexual orientation came up during the meeting, because it was used against him by some Latin American media outlets, which sought to smear him as a pervert and a liar about his abuse. “He told me, ‘Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are,’” Cruz said in the interview, as translated by The Guardian.
Complaints of acts of hostility toward LGBT people - ranging from discrimination to violence - in Chile increased by 45 percent in 2017 compared to the prior year, reaching a 15-year high, according to a report by the country's Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (MOVILH). A total of 484 complaints were filed in 2017 - 152 more than in 2016 - according to the 16th edition of MOVILH'S "Sexual and Gender Diversity Human Rights Annual Report." MOVILH called 2017 the "year of rage" against LGBT community members and activists due to the sharp increase in instances of abuse. MOVILH also noted that in 2017, "equality opponents pursued unprecedented initiatives to torpedo any kind of legislation of public policy favorable to sexual and gender diversity."
When Sebastián Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, it made history twice: Not only was it the first Oscar win for Chile, but the first Oscar win for a film with a transgender performer in the lead. The film’s Oscars represents a historic shift for transgender actors, who for too long have seen their identities being donned like a costume by cisgender actors gunning for awards. (Think “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Transamerica, and ‘Boys Don’t Cry”). But the win may be most historic transgender rights activists in Chile, where the international attention to the film is bolstering a long-stagnating gender identity bill. According to The New York Times, transgender rights activists in Chile are hoping to use the film’s success to advance a 2013 bill that would allow transgender people to legally change their names and gender marker on official documents.
The team that made the movie "A Fantastic Woman" which won the Oscar for best foreign film the night before were received Tuesday by Chile's outgoing President Michelle Bachelet, who in August sent to Congress a bill to authorize gay marriages and adoptions. Chilean rights groups have expressed hope that the Oscar and the mounting global recognition for Danila Vega, the 28-year old actress who played the lead role will help the bill's passage.
Everything seems to make Daniela Vega smile: her transition from male to female, her family’s unwavering support, and her rise from hairdresser to actress with the backing of Chilean director Sebastian Lelio, who won the Oscar for best foreign film. As Marina in the film “A Fantastic Woman” — her fifth movie role — Vega plays a transgender woman confronting discrimination and rejection by the family of her deceased partner. The role has thrust her into the international spotlight and made her a Hollywood darling. And at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, she became the first transgender person ever to present a performance at the movie industry’s most important event.
The new Chilean President passes responsibility for pushing through same-sex marriage to country’s Congress Last August, President Michelle Bachelet introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage. Chile has recognized civil unions since 2015. However, Bachelet’s four-year term as President ends this month, and the bill has not yet been approved by lawmakers. Sebastián Piñera replaces Bachelet as President this month. The 68-year-old politician served as President of the country prior to Bachelet (2010-2014).
The Movement for Homosexual Inclusion and Liberation, Movilh, is set to hold a peaceful protest called “Amor Diverso” (Diverse Love) on Valentine’s Day. The sixth annual demonstration is organized against discrimination and the standing prohibition of same-sex marriage in Chile. According to Movilh activist and organizer Diego Rios, they will hold symbolic wedding ceremonies, have informative stands and a communal picnic to demand current President Michelle Bachelet make progress on legalizing same-sex marriage.
Today, the global research firm IPSOS released the results of a 23 country survey, including the US, on attitudes toward transgender people. The data was collected online between October 24th and November 7th, 2017 and included the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States of America. For the purposes of this summary write-up, however, Ipsos has chosen to focus on findings from the 16 countries where internet penetration is sufficiently high to feel confident that the data is truly nationally representative
Chile's House of Deputies on Tuesday approved a transgender rights bill. Lawmakers in the chamber approved the bill with a 68-35 vote. The legislation now heads to the Senate. According to the Washington Blade, the bill would allow transgender adults to legally change their name and gender without surgery or a court order.
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