Is there a third gender option in Latin America?

More and more countries accept the "third option" in birth certificates. How is Latin America handling this aspect??

Is there a third gender option in Latin America?

"Feminine", "masculine" and "diverse". These are the genders that in Germany the parents of newborn children can mark to determine their sexual orientation. A measure that some consider unnecessary and dangerous, but others qualify as a triumph against discrimination.

Leer en español: ¿Existe la opción del tercer género en América Latina?

The approval of the third sex or "third option", as it is known in the European nation, was admitted last August by the government after accepting the ruling that the Constitutional Court of Germany issued in November 2017, indicating that the records of birth should include a new option that leaves gender orientation open.

Under this measure, the parents of the babies will not be forced to determine the gender of the child without knowing their sexual orientation or whose gender cannot be established as in the case of intersex children, nor will they proceed without the consent of the affected person, to make interventions surgical procedures to choose a gender.

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Intersex in Latin America

The United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Malta, Nepal, and Pakistan are nations that together with Germany recognize the "diverse" gender as an option in the birth certificate. However, in Latin America, there is no country that accepts the third gender officially.

Many of those born with this particularity in Latin America never get to undergo surgical interventions of sex reassignment and must endure an adult life submerged in ambiguity. Although this region still has an arduous road to travel to guarantee the rights of intersex, some countries begin to take the right steps to protect the equality of groups such as transgender.

Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, and Ecuador have laws that recognize the right to identify and allow the change of gender and name on the birth certificate after reaching the age of majority.

On the other hand, Chile, on June 20, approved a similar measure that, in this case, accepts that minors of up to 14 years old can go to a family court with their parents to make the change of sex in the identification documents.

According to the results of research conducted by Transgender Europe, Latin America is the region with the highest rates of violence against the LGBTI community in the world. 80% of trans women in Latin America die killed at 35 years old or before and, due to cultural reasons, are rejected at an early age from their homes, communities and educational centers. This stigmatization condemns many of the members of the LGBTI community to live in a circle of poverty, marginality and few professional and work opportunities.

According to records of The William Institute and the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, 44% of the trans-Latin population in the United States has tried to commit suicide for not being satisfied with their gender. 45% of these attempts occur in a population aged 18 to 24 years of age.

What does it mean to be born intersexual?

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in the world, only 1% of the population is recognized as intersex. People who are born with some kind of genital discrepancy are classified as such (in many cases they have female and male reproductive organs at the same time) or have more physically developed a gender but have opposite chromosomes.

The intersexuality is characterized by the genital ambiguity of a person who can be identified at the time of birth or develop during adulthood. In most cases, when a minor is born with this condition, the medical specialists and the parents do analysis against the clock to perform surgeries of re-assignment of gender in the shortest possible time.

These procedures try to give the child the predominant gender, however, it can happen that during the development stage the infant is identified with the genus contrary to the genitals that were assigned to him surgically and without his consent.

For this reason, the International Organization of Intersex (OII) describes this type of intervention as "mutilation", and although they applaud regulations such as the recognition of the "diverse" gender in Germany, which will remove pressure on parents and allow them to be the least who decides their gender at a certain moment, suggest that the radical solution must go beyond the labels, completely eliminating the binary code of man and woman to accommodate other types of natural manifestations.


LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from: '¿Existe la opción del tercer género en América Latina? '

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