Chile issues first non-binary national identity document

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Shane Cienfuegos became the first person in Chile’s history to receive a non-binary national identity document Friday.

Cienfuegos, 29, who heads social intervention activities for the Trans Diversity Organization of Chile, obtained the document after a nine-year bureaucratic and legal battle.

“This isn’t my victory; it’s a collective victory,” Cinefuegos told reporters in showing off the identity card, which has an “X” for the Sex entry rather than male or female.

Argentina was the first country in Latin America to recognize non-binary people in legal documents in July 2021. Mexico and Colombia followed, but like Chile they give such recognition only to people who win a court ruling.

Around the world, several countries recognize non-binary people in identity documents, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. U.S. citizens have been able to select “X” as their gender marker on passports since April.

Lorena Lorca, Cinefuegos’ lawyer, said this marked the first case in Chile of someone receiving a document with the letter “X” in a country that does not legally recognize non-binary people. Lorca said there are 60 similar cases in Chile, of which seven have received favorable sentences.

Cienfuegos said no one should have to wait such a long time “to receive legal recognition of something that you are.”

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