Chilean President Sebastian Piñera signed into law Wednesday a measure that will allow people to change their name and sex after the age of 14.
“We are not only taking a step forward in the direction of paying off the debt of a too-prejudiced society, we are also facing our commitment to human dignity and our moral obligation to those who have been unjustly discriminated against for so long,” he said.
The law, which took five years to get through Congress, establishes that adults can change their sex with a simple procedure at the Civil Registry.
Adolescents between the age of 14 and 18 seeking to alter their legal status will need to apply to a family court and have the approval of at least one parent or guardian.
Children under 14 are excluded, but Piñera said that the government will acknowledge younger transsexuals and seek to ensure that they do not suffer discrimination.
The president said that the Gender Identity Law, while important, does not represent a definitive solution.
“This requires a cultural change that must come from the heart and soul of all Chileans. We should learn to respect each other more, acknowledge diversity and respect that all humans are equal,” Piñera said.
The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation called the law’s enactment “historic” and dedicated the milestone to the memories of the 17 people killed in transphobic attacks in Chile since 2002.