TENI Press Release: Argentina Leads World with Ground-breaking Gender Identity Law

Press Release

Transgender Equality Network Ireland

Friday 25 May 2012

As a recipient of TENI News, we thought you might be interested in the following press release that we've issued.

Argentina Leads World with Ground-breaking Gender Identity Law

On 24th May Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner signed the Gender Identity Bill into law. This law was unanimously passed by the Argentinian Senate earlier this month and will come into effect on the 4th of June.

The Argentinian Law is based on self-determination and provides full recognition of self-defined gender identity. Transgender people in Argentina will not need to prove they have had surgical procedures, hormonal therapy or other psychological treatment such as a diagnosis of a mental illness. This law clearly separates a legal right from medical interventions. 

This law has been heralded as the most progressive in the world and signals a new era for transgender human rights. Justus Eisfeld, Co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality told press, "The fact that there are no medical requirements at all — no surgery, no hormone treatment and no diagnosis — is a real game changer and completely unique in the world. It is light years ahead of the vast majority of countries."

However, while clearly separating medical interventions from the legal recognition process, the Argentinian law also provides a right to access any desired medical treatment which firmly enshrines the importance of transgender healthcare.

Ireland's Transgender Community is Still Waiting

“TENI congratulates Argentina and all the activists who worked hard to ensure that their country now leads the world in progressive gender recognition legislation,” said Broden Giambrone, Director of TENI. "While we celebrate Argentina's step forward we are also reminded that Ireland lags significantly behind."

Ireland is one of the last countries in the European Union where transgender people cannot legally change the gender on their birth certificate under any circumstance. This is despite a fifteen year legal battle by Dr. Lydia Foy, a transgender woman, to be legally recognised. In 2007, Ireland was found in breach of its positive obligations under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in failing to recognise Dr. Foy in her female gender and provide her with a new birth certificate. 

In July 2011, the inter-departmental Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) published a report outlining the proposed criteria for gender recognition legislation. The recommendations included several controversial and restrictive criteria, including forcing transgender people in happy marriages to divorce and requiring a diagnosis of a mental illness. These criteria were broadly criticised, most recently at the Labour Party Conference in April whose members passed a motion calling on the Minister for Social Protection to bring forward legislation that takes account of the human rights and dignity of transgender persons.

"The State is currently in the process of drafting legislation with a Heads of a Bill reportedly being published in the summer. Ireland must look to Argentina which provides a progressive model based on human rights principles,” Giambrone added. “The last thing we want is for Ireland to introduce legislation that is not only restrictive but also outdated. We strongly encourage Ireland to seize the opportunity to lead Europe in this area.” 

Read Argentina’s Gender Identity Law in English here.
Read Argentina's Gender Identity Law in Spanish here


Contact TENI on (01) 873 3575 or email
Broden Giambrone (TENI Director) is available for interview on (01) 873 3575 or 087 135 9816.


Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. TENI works in four main areas: support, education, advocacy and capacity building.

Copyright © 2012 Transgender Equality Network Ireland, All rights reserved.
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