LGBT rights in Argentina

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LGBT rights in Argentina
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
Unregistered cohabitation nationwide
Civil unions in Buenos Aires, Rio Negro Province, and Villa Carlos Paz
Adoption -
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections in Buenos Aires and Rosario(see below)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Argentina may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Argentina, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Laws against homosexuality

Homosexuality in Argentina has been legal since 1887 [1]. The age of consent is 16 for both homosexuals and heterosexuals.[1][2]


While non-commercial homosexual acts between consenting adults in private had been legal since 1887, there were no civil rights laws designed to protect LGBT people and public opinion tended to look down upon LGBT people [2].

During the nineteenth centry, writings on homosexuality treated it as a medical pathology, an accusation to be levied against political opponents or something brought into the nation by foreigners [3]. The only public image of homosexuality was urban prostitution and public locations used for cruising. In 1914 a play with homosexual themes, Los Invertidos, was forced to shut down, although medical journals were permitted to discuss homosexuality.

Police harassment of homosexuals is reported to have increased during the first coup in 1930. Reports on the policies during Peron are vague and contradictory. In 1936, a mass arrest of homosexual men prompted legislation to legalize and regulate hetersoexual prostitution based on the argument that men were turning to homosexuality out of desperation.[4] On the other hand, in 1946, Eva Peron extended her personal protection to Miguel de Molina and some reports claim Juan Person ordered the police and the military not to engage in gay bashings.[5]

The first LGBT rights organizations to be established were, Nuestro Mundo (1969) and Safo (1972). Together they represented the, homosexual liberation front that sought an alliance with the political left in order to advance civil rights. The 1976 coup eradicated this movement and many of its members were among the thousands of "disappeared" people [3]. The return to democracy in the 1983, allowed for the creation of a LGBT rights movement.

While not given official recognition until 1992, the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina publicly campaigned for the human rights of LGBT people. Since 1987 the rights of gay and bisexual women have been defended by Cuadernos de Existencia Lesbiana. Significant legal and social progress began to be seen in the 1990s.

During this initial era of democratization, the first gay bar opened and the LGBT community began to become more open, with pride festivals, publications and political acativism. Legally, two cities, Buenos Aires and Rosario formally enacted legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In 2007, the International Gay World Cup was held in Buenos Aires, with the Argentina team winning.[6]

In recent years, there has been an effort to encourage LGBT tourists to visit Buenos Aires, with the hope that the increased tourism will have the economy.[7]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Argentina does not legally recognize same-sex marriages, but some cities have enacted civil union laws that offer some protections to gay couples.

Following the institution of civil unions in Río Negro and the federal district of Buenos Aires, in 2005 a judge ordered prison authorities in the province of Cordoba to allow conjugal visits between gay prisoners and their partners. The future federal bill on same-sex unions encounters the strict opposition of the local Roman Catholic Church.

The law approving civil unions in Buenos Aires and Río Negro Province of homosexual couples was endorsed in 2003, and in the town of Villa Carlos Paz in 2007.[8] These unions provide many of the same rights and privileges as that of married couples. However, adoption of children is not among them.

Legislation was presented in Argentina's congress on 27 October 2009 that would give same-sex couples all of the rights of marriage.[9] A poll released on early 2007 showed that 75% of those surveyed in the capital believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.[10]

2009 court ruling

In November 2009, a judge ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and permitted a male couple, Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello, to be married. The decision was hailed as a "legal first" by Reuters who said it was "setting a precedent that could pave the way for the Catholic country to become the first in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage".[11] Freyre and Di Bello confirmed they were "the first gay couple in Latin America to get the right to marry".[11] The mayor of Buenos Aires confirmed Argentina's government would not be appealing the decision.[12] He said, "This is an important step, because we must learn how to live in freedom without hurting the rights of others [...] We must cohabit, and accept this reality. The world is heading toward that direction".[13] The wedding was finally suspended after another judge revoked the original decision. But, finally in December 28, 2009, Freyre and Di Bello married in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Province, and thus they became the first homosexual married couple in Latin America.[14] They were supported by the governor of Tierra del Fuego, Fabiana Ríos, who signed a decree approving the wedding based in the judicial rule of November 2009. Because that decision applied only in the case presented by Freyre and Di Bello, other homosexual couples should appeal to the Judicial Power, wait for the resolution of unconstitutionality and then go to Tierra del Fuego to marry.[15]

Anti-discrimination laws

The national Constitution includes a paragraph that provides a general ban on discrimination, which has given some legal protection to LGBT people. As of 2010, no national law exists to expressly deal with discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, although two cities do include sexual orientation in their civil rights laws.

In 2010, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that gays and lesbians will be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces without discrimination.[16][17]


In certain towns or cities, cross dress may be illegal. Discrimination and harassment on the account of gender identity still remains a problem, although the trangender community has become more visible and politically organized.

In 1997, Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti-Transsexual was created to defend the rights of transgender people. One of its first victories came in 2006 when the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that had stated that transgender people did not have a legal right to organize and campaign for their rights.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that a 17 year old had the legal right to go through the sex change process and have her legal documents changed to reflect the operation [18]

In 2009, Marcela Romero won the legal right to have her identity changed, and was given an honorary title by the government.She was awarded by the Honorable Congress woman of the year. Romero remains one of leading advocates for the human rights of transgender people in Argentina.[19]


Comprehensive sexual education remains a taboo topic in Argentina politics.[20] As such it is difficult to implement a preventative campaign that will target the youth due to religious objections from clergy, parents and local officials. Likewise, while health care is the right of each citizen, it is often elusive for people living in rural communities. Much of the funding for public education and treatment has come from private charities, NGO's and international organizations.

See also


  1. Homosexual rights around the world
  2. A table of worldwide ages of consent, including US states, by
  3. Argentina. glbtq. Retrieved on February 3, 2010.
  4. "ARGENTINA: Back to the Bordello", January 10, 1955. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. 
  5. Biography of Juan Perón. Retrieved on February 3, 2010.
  6. "Argentine team beats British side to win gay world cup", September 29, 2007. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. 
  7. Barrionuevo, Alexei. "Macho Argentina warms to gay dollars and euros", The New York Times, November 29, 2007. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. 
  8. Cordoba: approve the civil union between homosexuals in Villa Carlos Paz, Clarin.con, retrieved on November 23, 2007
  9. Argentine Congress considers gay marriage, retrieved on October 30, 2009
  10. Argentina Moving Toward Gay Marriage Rights, retrieved on March 1, 2007
  11. Buenos Aires mayor won't appeal same-sex ruling. CNN (2009-11-14). Retrieved on 2009-11-15.
  12. Freyre, Di Bello expected to wed next month, Macri supports same-sex marriages, won't appeal court ruling. Buenos Aires Herald (2009-11-14). Retrieved on 2009-11-15.
  13. "La pareja gay pudo casarse finalmente en un registro civil de Tierra del Fuego", La Nación, 2009-12-28. Retrieved on 2009-12-28. (Spanish) 
  14. Se concretó en Ushuaia el primer matrimonio gay (Spanish). El Clarín (2009-12-29). Retrieved on 2009-12-29.
  15. "Homosexuales podrán ser militares en Argentina", El Universal, February 27, 2009. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. (Spanish) 
  16. "Militares gays no serán penalizados en las Fuerzas Armadas Argentinas", AG Magazine, February 27, 2009. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. (Spanish) 
  17. "Argentina autoriza por primera vez una operación de cambio de sexo a un menor", El Mundo, September 26, 2009. Retrieved on February 3, 2010. (Spanish) 
  18. Fighting stigma against sexual minorities in Latin America. UNAIDS (September 19, 2006). Retrieved on February 3, 2010.
  19. Segal, Joshua (April 25, 2008). "Argentina’s fight against HIV and Aids" (36). Retrieved on February 3, 2010.

External links


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