Gay couples dance in World Tango contest for first time
The annual contest in Buenos Aires has welcomed same-sex couples, making history and changing Argentina’s reputation as a ‘macho’ country
A gay couple dancing in the World Championship of Tango.

Same-sex couples have danced for the first time in the World Championship of Tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The country in which gay marriage has been legalized, one of the most ‘macho’ in the world, has let gay couples participate in its renowned contest.

Three male couples and one female couple danced, for 10 days, together with straight ‘tangueros’.

Tango dancer Juan Pablo Ramirez – who was in couple with Daniel Arroyo – said to Argentinian broadcasting: ‘It takes two to tango. But they don’t necessarily have to be different sexes.’

His partner said: ‘We aren’t doing anything transgressive. Our goal is for people to say “what good dancing!”. That’s it.’

The organizers of the 11th annual contest said: ‘Same-sex couples have never been barred, but we’ve never had in the past any requests from gay or lesbian dancers.’

According to the historians, tango was born as a ‘men only’ dance. In fact, in the 19th century dance halls, women were not allowed to participate as it was considered to make them seem like prostitute.

Argentina was the first country in Latin America, to legalize same-sex marriage. Buenos Aires is a very popular LGBT destination, with gay clubs, bars and other venues.

In Buenos Aires there are at least two gay ‘milongas’ (tango dance halls). La Marshall is the most famous one.

Argentina to Register Gay Couple as Fathers for First Time


Alejandro Nasif Salum, Secretary for International Relations at LGBT rights group Federación Argentina (FALGBT), sent out the following email yesterday:

ArgentinaTomorrow morning, in Buenos Aires, the first inscription of the birth of a baby with two fathers will be done in Argentina. Tobías is a boy who was born a few weeks ago in India after a surrogacy process. He’s now arrived to Argentina and both his fathers will be registered with no distinction between the biological one and the other one.

Although Marriage Equality Act states that no difference should be made between children of same or different sex couples, and besides the fact that many birth certificates with two mothers have already been made, it wasn’t easy to get to this point as the Civil Registry was at first reluctant to do it, but the work of the Legal Staff of the FALGBT made it possible. I want to recognize my colleagues at that point.

Moreover, a modification to Argentina’s Civil Code is being debated in the Congress which would made this kind of registrations standard in all the country. We’ll keep you up to date about this process.

Argentina Makes Sex-Reassignment Surgery a Legal Right
by Michael Warren
Thursday May 10, 2012
Daniel Walter Alvarez shows his police credential outside Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday.
Daniel Walter Alvarez shows his police credential outside Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday.   (Source:AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a gender rights law approved Wednesday.

The measure also gives people the right to specify how their gender is listed at the civil registry when their physical characteristics don’t match how they see themselves.

Senators approved the Gender Identity law by a vote of 55-0, with one abstention and more than a dozen senators declaring themselves absent - the same margin that approved a “death with dignity” law earlier in the day.

President Cristina Fernandez threw her support behind the law and is expected to sign it. She has often said how proud she is that Argentina became Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage two years ago, enabling thousands of same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

For many, gender rights were the next step.

Any adult will now be able to officially change his or her gender, image and birth name without having to get approval from doctors or judges - and without having to undergo physical changes beforehand, as many U.S. jurisdictions require.

"It’s saying you can change your gender legally without having to change your body at all. That’s unheard of," said Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University medical anthropologist and bioethicst who wrote a book, "Fixing Sex," about the medical and legal treatment of people whose physical characteristics don’t fully match their gender identity.

"There’s a whole set of medical criteria that people have to meet to change their gender in the U.S., and meanwhile this gives the individual an extraordinary amount of authority for how they want to live. It’s really incredible," she said.

When Argentines want to change their bodies, health care companies will have to provide them with surgery or hormone therapy on demand. Such treatments will be included in the “Obligatory Medical Plan,” which means both private and public providers will not be able to charge extra for the services.

"This law is going to enable many of us to have light, to come out of the darkness, to appear," said Sen. Osvaldo Lopez of Tierra del Fuego, the only openly gay national lawmaker in Argentina.

"There are many people in our country who also deserve the power to exist," Lopez said.

Children also get a voice under the law: Youths under 18 who want to change their genders gain the right to do so with the approval of their legal guardians. But if parents or guardians want a gender identity change and don’t have the child’s consent, then a judge must intervene to ensure the child’s rights are protected.

Argentina need not worry about vast numbers of people demanding sex changes, Karkazis predicted.

"This isn’t going to create a huge demand on the national health system for these procedures. They’re difficult, painful, irreversible. And this is why many people don’t do it," she said.

But because the law says people can legally change their identities without having to undergo genital surgery or hormone therapy, these changes can be more benign and even reversible, if some day the person’s self-image changes.

Other countries, including neighboring Uruguay, have passed gender rights laws, but Argentina’s “is in the forefront of the world” because of these benefits it guarantees, said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Homosexual Community of Argentina.

"This is truly a human right: the right to happiness," Sen. Miguel Pichetto said during the debate.

Argentina on the verge of adopting a far-reaching transgender rights law

Monday, April 23, 2012

Photo: Claudia Pia Baudracco, founding member of the Argentinean Travesti, Transexual and Transgender Association.

Taking the next step in becoming the most progressive Latin American nation on LGBT issues, Argentina is poised to adopt a far-reaching gender identity law that would grant transgender individuals the right to change their name and gender on their official identification records.  From ABS-CBN:

Pending in Congress since 2007, the bill hurdled Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies in December last year, with majority (167-17) voting in favor of it. It is now being debated in the Senate. If it becomes law, the bill is seen to benefit not only Argentina’s transsexuals or those who have had sex reassignment surgery.

Under the proposed measure, anyone who wants to change his or her gender and name no longer has to get a court order and comply with stringent requirements. He or she just has to go the Registro Naciona de las Personas (National Registry of Persons) with a request. Those below 18 have to get the consent of legal representatives, like parents and guardians.

The new gender and name will be used in one’s birth certificate, national identity card, and other government records.

The bill also requires government to subsidize the cost of surgery, hormone treatment, and other medical procedures for those who wish to have physical sex change.

As the article indicates, after passing the Chamber of Deputies by an overwhelming margin back in December, the bill was set to be introduced in the Senate last week.  Instead, it was side-tracked by emergency legislative action stemming from President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s decision last week to nationalize the YFP oil company from Spain.

AG Magazine says that they now expect the bill to reach the Argentinean Senate floor on May 2nd.

[Update (4/24/12): A Senate committee approved a draft of the bill that is identical to the one passed by the Chamber of Deputies.  The bill is expected to reach the Senate floor on May 9th and there are sufficient votes to insure its pasage, according to Parliamento. President Kirchner is expected to sign the bill into law once it reaches her desk.]

In the meantime, the team that produced this amazing transgender rights public service announcement for the Argentinean LGBT Federation (FALGBT) and the Argentinean Travesti, Transexual and Transgender Association (ATTTA) are back!  Director Juan Pablo Félix and Producer Matías Romero have launched this 2:30 minute spot featuring some of the leading advocates behind the push for the law.


Poignantly, it includes some of the last images captured of Claudia Pía Baudracco, a founding member of the Argentinean transgender rights movement who died of natural causes on March 18th at 42 years of age.

Baudracco always told her friends she dreamed to become the first transgender president of Argentina. She passed away before being able to see her ID reflect who she really was and before passage of a law in which she had such an integral part of making it a reality.

She leaves an impressive legacy and her spirit will undoubtedly be celebrated when the bill is signed into law.

Argentina became the first nation in Latin America to pass a comprehensive marriage equality law in 2010.

Related: Last week by a vote of 203 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention the Argentinean Chamber of Deputies also approved a bill that would increase penalties for hate crimes committed based on “gender or sexual orientation, gender identity or its expression”.  The bill now goes to the Senate as well.

Mother Takes on Monsanto, Wins Global Prize

April 16th, 2012  By Kristin Schafer

Hats off to this mother of three who got fed up and took charge. Thirteen years ago, Sofía Gatica’s newborn died of kidney failure after being exposed to pesticides in the womb. After the despair came anger, then a fierce determination to protect the children in her community and beyond.

Today, she’s one of six grassroots leaders from around the world receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize, in recognition of her courageous—and successful—efforts.

Pesticide Action Network will host Sofía as she travels to San Francisco for tonight’s ceremony and celebration.

Pesticides drift from GE soy fields

Sofía lives in Ituzaingó Annex, a working-class neighborhood of 6,000 bordering commercial soy farms in the province of Córdoba in Argentina.

Argentina is the third largest exporter of soybeans in the world. It is also the third largest producer of genetically engineered (GE) crops worldwide, following closely behind the U.S. and neighboring Brazil. The explosion of GE soy production in Argentina has brought with it dramatic increases in pesticide use, and specifically aerial spraying of Monsanto’s weedkiller, RoundUp. Spraying of the antiquated insecticide endosulfan was also common until this year. Its use is now banned in Argentina as it moves toward a global phaseout under the Stockholm treaty.

RoundUp, long touted by Monsanto as all but harmless, has recently been linked to increased risk of birth defects when mothers are exposed during pregnancy. Endosulfan has also been linked to health harms in children, including birth defects, reproductive harm and autism.

Local mothers take charge

Here’s where Sofía’s story becomes truly inspirational.

After she lost her newborn, she realized that such losses were all too common in her small community. Building on Argentina’s powerful history of movements led by mothers, Sofía worked with other concerned moms to go door to door collecting stories about health problems in each family—essentially conducting the community’s first-ever epidemiological study.

Despite few resources and very real threats, Sofía led the Mothers of Ituzaingó to concrete victory.

“The Mothers of Ituzaingó” discovered the community’s cancer rate to be 41 times the national average. Rates of neurological problems, respiratory diseases and infant mortality were also astonishingly high.

The group then launched a “Stop the Spraying!” campaign, leading demonstrations and publishing materials warning the community about the dangers of pesticides.

Their efforts bore fruit. In 2008, Argentina’s president ordered an investigation of the health impacts of pesticides in Ituzaingó Annex; the resulting official study corroborated their informal door-to-door research. Sofía and the Mothers of Ituzaingó then won a municipal “buffer zone” ordinance, prohibiting aerial spraying less than 2,500 meters from homes.

Honoring leadership & courage

Each year since 1989, the Goldman Prize has honored grassroots leaders across the globe, unsung heroes who are campaigning for environmental justice and sustainability in their local communities. This global recognition of Sofia’s work couldn’t be more deserved.

Despite few resources and very real threats—including being held at gunpoint in her own home—Sofía led the Mothers of Ituzaingó to concrete victory: on-the-ground protections for the children in their community. The group also raised the profile of the broader issue of the health harms of pesticides to the national level, making room for a push for safer and more sustainable approaches to agriculture.

Sofía is now working with mothers in other Argentine communities, looking for ways to expand protections to families across the country.

Video: http://youtu.be/eHHS45AJsoI

Legislature to review bill allowing gay foreign couples to marry in BA
Paraguayans Simón Casal (31) and Sergio López (18) became the first foreign gay couple to wed in Argentina, after tying the knot in Rosario last March.

City lawmaker María Rachid introduced a draft bill in the Legislature on Tuesday looking to allow foreign gay couples to marry in Buenos Aires without the need of a local address. 

Rachid’s initiative argues that Article 20 in the Argentine Constitution establishes that “while on Argentine territory, all foreigners are protected by the citizens’ civil rights…they can make up their will and get married in accordance to the law.”

Rachid explained that the goal is to “put what the Constitution says into practice, since we can’t keep foreigners from a constitutional warranty such as marriage, by asking them, as the City’s Civil Registry demands, that at least one of the spouses have a DNI national identity card.” 

“No inferior regulations nor internal resolutions can damage the essence of this right, which is guaranteed” by the Constitution, she explained.

The draft bill is also looking to include foreign gay couples looking to get married in Argentina after Congress passed the same-sex marriage law in 2010.

The bill suggests that non-resident gay couples will only be asked to present the authorities with a photocopy of their passport and entry stamp, temporary address and lenght of their visit to Argentina

LGBT rights: Can you believe this? - 2nd Spot (by Blabbeando)

LGBT rights: Can you believe this? Spot 1 (by Blabbeando)