International Pride Day: Progress on the rights of Chile’s LGBTIQA+ community in the last decade
The Anti-discrimination, Gender Identity and Equal Marriage Laws are among the legislation behind the progress on sexual and gender diversity civil rights.
For 54 years, June 28 has been commemorated around the world as International Pride Day, marking the first protest for LGBTIQA+ rights at the Stonewall Bar in New York’s Greenwich Village on the morning of June 28, 1969.
The first organized commemoration in Chile, the March for Non-discrimination, occurred in Santiago in 1999. In the years that followed, the movement spread throughout the country, applying greater pressure and urgency in the absence of policies and measures to guarantee the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community.
What rights advances has Chile’s LGBTQIA+ movement won in the last decade?
The Anti-Discrimination Law “Zamudio Law” (No. 20,609, 2012) honors the memory of the murdered gay youth by defining arbitrary discrimination and establishing judicial procedures for acts of arbitrary discrimination against individuals. The law lists more than 15 categories that may be considered discriminatory.
The Civil Union Law (2015) applies to couples of any sexual orientation and confers the civil status of “civil cohabitant” upon the contracting parties. The Civil Union Agreement recognizes civil cohabitants as a family for the purpose of regulating the legal effects derived from their shared affective life. Civil union partners also have the right to health, pension, inheritance and other social benefits. The law was Chile’s first legislation granting express recognition to same-sex couples.
The next year, an amendment to Labor Law No. 20,940 modernized the Labor Relations System to include sexual orientation and gender identity as categories protected from workplace discrimination.
The Gender Identity Law (No. 21,120) gives any person whose gender identity does not coincide with their sex or registered name the right to request rectification. It also defines gender identity as the “personal and internal conviction of being a man or a woman, as the person perceives himself or herself, which may or may not coincide with the sex and name assigned on the birth certificate.”
December 10, 2021 became a historic day for human rights in Chile, after decades of struggle, with the publication of the Equal Marriage Law. The law also guarantees non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors, including whether couples are married or had their children through assisted human reproduction for purposes of child custody, filiation or adoption.
With the publication of this law, Chile became one of the world’s 25 nations that allow same-sex marriage and the sixth in Latin America to do so.
As of December 2022, a year after its publication, a total of 2,254 same-sex couples had been married and 473 people were registered as the children of gay or lesbian unions.
In 2022, the Tamara Law “repealed what was considered the last homophobic law” in Chile. It included the repeal of Penal Code No. 365, a legal precept that established sanctions for those over 18 years of age who have sexual relations with persons under 18 but over 14 years of age. According to Movilh, the law was “homophobic” because it applied only to heterosexual people.
In addition to the preceding list, some proposed modifications to existing laws add sexual orientation to the categories protected from discrimination and guarantee equal conditions for LGBTIQA+ people in certain circumstances. Chile also created National Diversity Day in 2022 in keeping with the legal advances. It is celebrated on November 16.