The conservative frontrunner for Chile's upcoming presidential election has inflamed LGBTQ issues by suggesting children grow out of the need to change their gender: "In many cases... these transgender or gender dysphoria are corrected as they grow up."
Responding to a question about state policies fighting transphobia in Thursday's broadcast debate, former Chilean President and businessman Sebastian Piñera first clarified that he wouldn't discriminate against anybody for their sexual orientation, religious beliefs or any other socio-economic factors.
But he then went on to say that the government is considering legislation that would allow "a boy – without consulting his parents – a minor to change his sex with practically no paper work."
President Michelle Bachelet's administration has introduced no such bill, but Piñera insisted "we have to face cases with responsibility and seriousness" instead of "transforming gender as a shirt that anyone can change everyday."
Chile's branch of LGBT association Movilh publicly condemned the statement after the presidential candidate refused to engage a direct debate with them.
"Neither transexuality nor homosexuality are to be corrected," the association said. "Affirming this consists in a free insult harming people's dignity and, worse, weakens the psychological integrity of children, which cannot be tolerated."
Movilh President Ramon Gomez also noted that, so far, precisely zero cases have been reported of transgender children changing their minds after gender-reassignment surgery.