Argentina has become the first country in South America to roll out an ‘X’ gender marker on passports and national identity documents.
In a huge leap for equality in the continent, president Alberto Fernández issued a decree allowing all Argentinians to choose ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘X’ on passports and National Documents of Identity (DNI).
“There are other identities besides that of man and woman, and they must be respected,” Fernández said at a ceremony in Buenos Aires.
The ‘X’ marker was introduced, according to the decree published in Argentina’s official gazette, or the Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, for any Argentinian who “does not feel understood under the male/female binary”, including non-binary people.
“The ideal will be when all of us are just who we are and no one cares about people’s gender,” Fernández said, adding that there are a “thousand ways to love, be loved and be happy”.
Argentina president ‘makes the impossible, possible’ with non-binary ID cards
Activists cheered, clapped and raised non-binary Pride flags up high at the Bicentennial Museum as the president outlined the shake-up, which has been in the making since 2012.
“We are making possible what once seemed impossible,” he added in a tweet.
Activists hailed the “historic breakthrough” of the ‘X’ gender marker as showing why Argentina remains at the “forefront of respecting human rights”.
“We understand that there is still a long way to achieve that real equality we all want,” said Flavia Masenzio, president of the Argentine LGBT Federation, in a Facebook statement.
“But this recognition puts on the global debate table a topic that needs to be addressed: non-binary identities exist and it is important to recognise them.”
“The recognition by the State of non-binary people is another important advance that drives us more to keep dreaming and demanding for equal rights for everyone,” Masenzio added.
“Because we know it is possible.”