LGBT rights in Chile

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LGBT rights in Chile
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1998,
age of consent not equalized
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption Not allowed
Military service No official prohibition, but LGBT people may be discharged because of "offenses to values and morals of the Armed Forces".[1]
Discrimination protections None (see below)

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

Laws against homosexuality

Although homosexuality was legalized in 1998 in Chile, several court rulings within the last decade demonstrate discriminatory policy. In Chile the current law against sodomy states that the age of consent for homosexuals is set at 18, whereas the age of consent for heterosexual sex is lower at 14.[2]

In July, 2009 a new Penal Code was drafted and might pass soon and will get rid of all the old criminal laws, even the age of consent which is still unequal in 2009 (see above). Under the draft Penal Code, the age of consent will be equal for all individuals at 18, regardless [1].

Gender identity/expression

A landmark case, brought in 2005 by Andres Rivera, the founder of the only NGO in Chile dedicated to fighting for trans people's rights, won the right for trans people to legally change their name and sex in 2007.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples. But the government has proposed recognition of civil unions for same sex couples. The bill was introduced in 2004.

Public opinion has shown substantial support for same-sex civil unions: 65% favored their legalization in 2004, even though only 24% supported same-sex marriage.[4] In 2009, 33.2% supported same-sex marriage and 26.5% supported adoption by same-sex couples.[5]

Support among young people is much higher: according to a study by the National Youth Institute of Chile, 56% of young respondents supported same-sex marriage, while 51.3% supported same-sex adoption.[6]

Discrimination protections

There is no anti-discrimination law, however a bill to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been debated since 1998. LGBT and minority groups are working to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender” in Chile’s Constitution to the civil rights and protection clause.[7] Details of a new draft of the law were made public at the Forum on Same-Sex Civil Unions in Chile , held at the Diego Portales University, in May 2008. [8]

Activists believe that conservative attitudes are changing, finding greater public tolerance as Chile's Congress debates striking "offenses to morals and good customs" clauses "that police have used to harass gays, even for behavior such as holding hands in public".[9]

Living conditions

The gay scene is no longer as small as in the past compared to neighbors like Argentina and Brazil. It is mostly concentrated in Santiago in the bohemian neighborhood Bellavista, home to a thriving restaurant and club scene. A gay pride parade is conducted every year in downtown Santiago.[10]

The Chilean magazine, Opus Gay, has ventured far south, reporting on a recent lesbian march for equal rights in Concepcion [11], and on to the Straits of Magellan to report on the gay discothèque scene in Punta Arenas.[12]

2004 removal of gay judge

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In January 2004, the Chilean Supreme Court removed judge Daniel Calvo from his position on the Santiago Court of Appeals, after media reports that he visited a sauna frequented by gay men. The story broke following the arrest of a Chilevision TV editor for illegally taping, and then broadcasting, a conversation in the judge's chambers. Judge Calvo, investigating the case of an accused businessman running a child pornography ring, was taped in his office in a discussion with the owner of a gay sauna, in which he acknowledged being a former client [13] [14]

2004 removal of custody rights from lesbian former judge

In 2004, the Chilean Supreme Court confirmed a lower court's decision that stripped former judge Karen Atala of custody of her three daughters because she is a lesbian. The case has been taken up by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [15]

See also


External links


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