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  • LGBT activists celebrate after the Bolivian Senate approved a gender identity law, La Paz, Bolivia, May 21, 2016.

    LGBT activists celebrate after the Bolivian Senate approved a gender identity law, La Paz, Bolivia, May 21, 2016. | Photo: Twitter / @SenadoBolivia

Published 21 May 2016

The law grants transgender people the right to change their name, gender and photo in official documents.

The Bolivian Congress approved a law that will grant transgender people the right to change their name, their gender, and their photo in their government documentation in order to reflect the gender they identify with. 

Alex Bernabe, an LGBT activist from the city of Santa Cruz, welcomed the news as a step forward for human rights. 

“This progress is important because we have fought for many years so that our rights to identity would be recognized,” Bernabe told ANF.

David Aruquipa, another LGBT activist who witnessed the debate in the Senate, told AFP that “justice had been done for a population who had been historically excluded.”

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Meanwhile, the Trans Network of Bolivia issued a statement that thanked lawmakers for “having put the guarantee of our human rights above efforts to deny them.”

The head of the Chamber of Deputies, Gabriela Montaño, dedicated the new law to the transgender people of Bolivia who suffered violence as a result of their identity, specifically Dayana Lazarte, Carla Suarez, Luisa Duran and Virgina Wanca Aliaga, who were killed.

The bill will now be sent to President Evo Morales for final approval, who is expected to approve it as early as Saturday.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have won recognition of their rights throughout Latin America. 

A report released this month found that the Americas had the highest number of respondents saying they have become more accepting of LGBT people in the last five years (34 percent) and the lowest number dismissing homosexuality is a Western phenomenon.

Ecuador recently approved a similar law that permits citizens to change their birth name and gender identity on legal documents. The country's electoral commission also recently implemented a number of changes that will respect people's chosen gender identity throughout the 2017 election process. 


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