Argentina Makes Sex-Change Surgery History with New Gender Identity LawS

Wow: Argentina just passed an unprecedented "Gender Identity" law that will allow adults seeking sex-change surgery or hormone therapy to get expenses covered under private or public health plans without a stamp of approval from a doctor or judge.

In other countries — such as, ahem, ours — people often have to jump through bureaucratic and medical hoops to actually change their physical bodies before legally changing their gender. Argentines, on the other hand, will be able to change their gender, image and birth name on the basis of their opinion, not anyone else's.

That's unheard of," Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University medical anthropologist and author of "Fixing Sex," told the AP. "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."

Children get the chance to change their genders, too, with approval of their legal guardians. There's really no part of the law that doesn't sound completely and utterly rational. President Cristina Fernandez, who became the first Latin American president to legalize gay marriage two years ago, supported the law and is expected to sign it.

"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," the AP reports. And why shouldn't they be all that? Your gender identity is no one's business but your own, and it's awesome that Argentina agrees.

Argentina makes sex-change surgery a legal right [AP]