A helpful new law that simplifies the process for changing one's name and gender on an ID card (and covers sex procedures like sex reassignment under health care) aims to make joining the mainstream population a much more attainable goal for transgender citizens in Argentina. In other countries, the gender/name change process can wind a byzantine bureaucratic course through medical procedures or court appearances. This in turn presents trans people with a pretty significant obstacle between them and the activities that other citizens take for granted, such as applying for and securing a new job.
NPR reports, however, that with Argentina's new gender law, changing the name on an ID card is a breezy 15-minutes process, which helps alleviate the pressure on some trans people to undergo prolonged medical procedures, like sex reassignment surgery. Psychologist Graciela Balestra, who works closely with the transgender community in Argentina, explained to NPR's Annie Murphy that the new law will go a long way toward helping transgender citizens become less marginalized and, therefore, less vulnerable.
"Transgender people have an average life expectancy of about 30 to 32 years," Balestra says. "They don't live any longer; I think that statistic alone says so much." A government study revealed that more than 95 percent of the transgender community turns to prostitution, and many use risky, sometimes homemade methods for altering their bodies. The new ID cards will undoubtedly help transgender citizens gain access to other jobs, and offer many a way out of a dangerously marginalized existence.