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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Chile to cover sex change operations
25 May 2012

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A surgeon performs a sex change operation in 2009.

AFP - Chile will soon cover sex change surgeries under its public health plan in order to allow citizens of limited means to "recover their true sexual identity," Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

Until now such operations were only offered in private clinics at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000, but will now be performed in public hospitals in the capital Santiago, Concepcion and Valparaiso, he said late Thursday.

Before the reforms, "a poor person had no possibility of completing the process of femininization or masculinization," Rolando Jimenez, head of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), told AFP. The cost will now depend on the patient's income bracket, with the poorest citizens able to get the operations for free.

The South American country of 17 million people has an estimated transsexual population of 3,000 to 4,000, according to Movilh. The health ministry enacted other measures to prevent discrimination, ruling that blood banks cannot refuse donors based on sexual orientation and that transsexuals should room with patients of their desired gender in hospitals.

Chile recently passed a law against sexual and religious discrimination, and the legislature is discussing a bill to regulate domestic partnerships, including those between homosexuals.

Source: France24.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:37 pm 
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Chile child sex abuse to be investigated at 61 schools
21 July 2012

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Santiago skyline (file photo from 2008)

Prosecutors in Chile are investigating about 60 schools in the capital, Santiago, over allegations that pupils were sexually abused.

The investigations come after reports of child sex abuse in schools and day care centres increased markedly this year. Most of the schools are in Santiago's affluent eastern areas. Earlier this week, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera announced a raft of measures to combat child sex abuse.

Attorney general Sabas Chahuan said 49 schools in eastern Santiago and about a dozen on the west side of the city would be investigated. "Wherever there are children, we will investigate just the same as we do with corruption or economic crimes," Mr Chahuan said on Friday after meeting representatives of a parents' association. "We put ourselves in the place of the parents and we know they're worried, anxious and desperate."

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, complaints of sexual abuse of children under the age of 14 jumped 22% in the first half of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. On Wednesday, President Pinera said a database registering those convicted of sexually abusing minors or of child pornography offensives would be operational from August. A new law last month banned convicted paedophiles from working near children.

Source: BBC.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Chilean group seeks same-sex marriage
September 4, 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile (UPI) -- Chile's prohibition of same-sex marriage has prompted a lawsuit by the country's leading advocate for gay rights, a spokesman for the group said.

Chile's Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation charges in the suit that barring gay marriage violates several parts of the American Convention of Human Rights, the Santiago Times reported.

Alberto Roa, general secretary of the group, said the lawsuit is the first of its kind and was presented to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. The commission obliges states to "respect every recognized right and liberty" and to "guarantee them to every person subject to its jurisdiction, without discrimination," Roa said. "We are demanding the legalization of marriage and civil union, not just because we all want to get married," he said. "This is a matter of equality for us."

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Ciro Colombara and Hunter T. Carter, a former aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Source: UPI.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:26 am 
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Thousands join Chile gay pride parade
10 November 2012

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A woman holds a dog wearing a rainbow colored bandana before Argentina’s annual gay pride parade in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012.
(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Thousands are parading in Chile's capital at a pride fest that has turned into the country's largest gay rights event.

Organizers say more than 50,000 people joined in the "Open Mind Fest." Revelers flooded several streets of Santiago waving rainbow flags and strutting in costumes as people of all ages turned out to support gay, lesbian and transgender people. At the same time, thousands participated in a gay pride march in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires.

Chile's president signed an anti-discrimination law earlier this year after a gay man was beaten to death. The law was approved after being stuck in Congress for seven years. Chilean lawmakers are also preparing to debate a civil union law proposed by President Sebastian Pinera that would give inheritance and other rights to same-sex couples.



Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:50 am 
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Gay porn tops internet searches in anti-gay countries
13 March 2013
By Joe Morgan

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Many of the most homophobic countries in the world have searched for gay porn. Photo by Scott Nunn.

Some of the most homophobic countries in the world are really into gay porn, reveals porn search engine PornMD.

The company has published search data today (13 March) mapping porn habits across the globe – and it reveals in many of the worst countries to be LGBT, gay porn is as popular or more popular than straight erotica.

In Kenya, where you can be imprisoned for being gay for up to 14 years, the second most searched for kind of porn is ‘monster cock’.

‘South African gay porn’ is fourth on the list in Nigeria, where you can face death for being gay, and Ghana, where homosexuality is also illegal, seem to have no problem with ‘black lesbians’.

Libyans, who could face up to five years imprisonment for being gay, search for ‘Silver Daddy’ gay porn more than any other type.

In Iran, the list for gay searches goes ‘Daddy love’ at number four, with ‘Hairy’ and ‘Hotel businessman’ at five and six with just plain ‘Iranian’ last. The country gives the death penalty for homosexuality.

Mauritius has ‘spycam gay porn’ as their top search, as well as ‘gay tickling’ at number seven.

In Chile, nine out of 10 searches for erotica were for gay porn. And, in Hungary, the seventh and eighth searches were gay porn featuring ‘Grandpas’ and ‘Koreans’.

Kazakhstan’s top search was Russian gay porn, Lebanon likes looking for guys with ‘big legs’, and the Ukraine’s favorite is ‘Raincoat’ gay porn.

It seems gay people are forced to go underground due to a country’s homophobic attitudes or laws, with many turning to the internet to fulfill their urges. In countries with civil partnerships and marriage equality such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden, gay men are far less likely to go online to get off. None of the top 10 searches in those countries were for gay porn.

Last month, a separate study revealed watching porn makes straight men more likely to support marriage equality.

Source: Gay Star News.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Latin American women face widespread violence: study
18 January 2013

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Shoes that belonged to murdered women, are shown next to signs protesting domestic violence in Santiago, Chile on July 30, 2009.

AFP - More than half of Bolivian women have suffered domestic violence, according to a report out Thursday that found such abuse widespread in Latin America, with partners usually the perpetrators.

In seven of the 12 Latin American and Caribbean countries surveyed by the Pan American Health Organization, more than one in four women reported having experienced such brutality in their lifetimes.

At 17 percent, women in the Dominican Republic reported the lowest level of domestic violence. It was followed by its neighbor Haiti, the poorest country in the region, with 19 percent.

PAHO pointed to social and cultural norms that support violence against women in the region, including that "there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten" and "a man has a right to assert power over a woman and is considered socially superior."

It also found that physical violence is considered an "acceptable way" to resolve conflict in a relationship and that sexual activity -- including rape -- is a "marker of masculinity."

Even when looking at just a 12-month period, rather than an entire lifetime, the report found that more than a quarter of women -- 25.5 percent -- in Bolivia reported physical or sexual violence in 2008. The lowest ratio, at 7.7 percent, was in El Salvador (2008) and Jamaica (2008-2009).

In up to 82 percent of cases, women suffered physical injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones, miscarriages and burns. Despite the abuse, between 28 percent and 64 percent of victims did not speak to anyone or seek help, according to the 156-page report, titled "Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean."

The analysis of more than 180,000 women also showed that women who were beaten in childhood reported violence at the hands of their partners as adults at higher rates than those who were not hit when they were young. "In addition to violating basic human rights, violence against women has serious consequences for the health of women and their children and impacts heavily on health services and health workers in the region," said PAHO Director Mirta Roses.

In all countries except Paraguay, women said a partner's drunkenness or drug use was the most common trigger for violence. The second most commonly cited cause was jealousy.

PAHO, which is based in Washington, warned that violence against women has consequences across generations, with violence against women and against children often taking place in the same household. "When women experience violence, their children suffer," it said. "Growing evidence suggests that when children witness or suffer violence directly, they may be at increased risk of becoming aggressors or victims in adulthood." The report said that children living in households where women were subject to violence were at significantly greater risk of being punished with hitting, beating, spanking or slapping.

Countries participating in the study included Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru. Data was culled from national surveys conducted between 2003 and 2009.

Source: France24.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:19 am 
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Chile passes hate crime bill in the wake of gay man’s killing
by Edmund Broch
10 May 2012

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Mr Zamudio's homophobic murder caused national soul-searching in Chile

In the wake of a national outcry over the homophobic killing of a young man, the Chilean Congress has approved an anti-discrimination bill that outlaws discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation.

The bill had languished in Congress for over seven years, but was finally fast-tracked to approval by the President, Sebastian Pinera, and it cleared its final hurdle with a 25-3 vote in the Senate.

The killing of a gay man, Daniel Zamudio, earlier this year by a neo-Nazi groups provoked a national soul-searching in Chile, where the anti-discrimination bill was prevented from being passed by religious groups, who contended that it would constitute the first step towards “gay marriage.”

Senator Alberto Espina said in a statement: “It’s an enormous culture change for our country… Chile is a country that discriminates a lot for being (indigenous) Mapuche, for being gay, for your nationality, for having disabilities. We have to acknowledge this and not sweep it under the carpet.”

Mr Zamudio was attacked on 3 March, and sustained severe head injuries and a broken leg. His body was covered in cigarette burns and in-carved Swastika symbols. He died after being in a coma for three weeks, and thousands attended his funeral in Santiago. Four men have been arrested and prosecutors will be pressing for murder charges, it is reported.

Source: PinkNews.

4 guilty in Chile gay murder that led to hate law
17 October 2013
By LUIS ANDRES HENAO

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The suspects held for trial are Raúl Alfonso López (25), Alejandro Angulo Tapia (26), Patricio Ahumada Garay (25) and Fabián Mora Mora (19).

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Four Chilean men were convicted of first-degree murder Thursday for beating a gay man to death and carving swastikas into his body.

Daniel Zamudio's slaying set off a national debate about hate crimes in Chile that led Congress to pass an anti-discrimination law.

As the judge read the guilty verdict, Zamudio's mother sobbed and her son's killers stood motionless and stared blankly at the floor. Judge Juan Carlos Urrutia said Patricio Ahumada Garay, Alejandro Angulo Tapia, Raul Lopez Fuentes and Fabian Mora Mora were guilty of a crime of "extreme cruelty" and "total disrespect for human life." The judge said the attackers burned Zamudio with cigarettes, beat him with glass bottles and broke his right leg with a heavy stone before they abandoned him in a park in the Chilean capital on March 3, 2012.

The sentence will be read Oct. 28. Prosecutors are asking for jail terms ranging from eight years to life in prison. "We're satisfied with this ruling. There's a before and an after the Zamudio case," said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement. "It generated such outrage because of the brutality, the hate, that it helped raised awareness," Jimenez said. "We've witnessed a cultural change that finally led to an anti-discrimination law."

The law had been stuck in Congress for seven years, but President Sebastian Pinera put it on the fast track after Zamudio's murder. The law adopted last year enables people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was the second of four brothers. He had hoped to study theater. "Nothing can change the tremendous pain suffered by Daniel's parents," presidential spokeswoman Cecilia Perez said. "But there's no doubt that today some tranquility has finally reached their hearts. It's the tranquility that comes with justice."

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Chile: 4 sentenced in brutal murder of gay man
29 October 2013

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chilean judges on Monday sentenced a man to life in prison for the beating death of a gay man whose body was carved with swastikas, and gave lesser sentences to three others.

The four men were convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder in the attack on Daniel Zamudio. They burned him with cigarettes, beat him with glass bottles and broke his right leg with a heavy rock before abandoning him in a park in the capital of Santiago on March 3, 2012. The killing prompted Chile's Congress to pass an anti-discrimination law.

The three-judge panel gave Patricio Ahumada Garay a life sentence. Alejandro Angulo Tapia and Raul Lopez Fuentes were sentenced to 15-year terms and Fabian Mora Mora got seven years.

Zamudio's family and friends applauded as the sentences were read out. Ahumada, the group's ringleader, glared at the victim's family defiantly and lashed out at the judges, accusing them of sending an innocent man to prison, before he was escorted out by police.

But Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, was not totally happy with the outcome. "This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because they deserved much stiffer sentences, unfortunately Chile's legislation doesn't allow it," said Jimenez. "We're tired of fighting to end the brutal attacks on people because of their sexual orientation. It's enough. How many more people must die for this to stop?" he asked.

The anti-discrimination law had been stuck in Congress for seven years, but President Sebastian Pinera put it on the fast track after Zamudio's murder. The law adopted last year allows people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was the second of four brothers and had hoped to study theater. Later outside the courtroom, Zamudio's mother sobbed and said she regretted that her son's killers didn't receive harsher sentences. "The four of them should have gotten life in prison because they were all part of the beating of Daniel" Jacqueline Vera said. "I just want them to rot in prison for what they did. Let them dry up behind bars."

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Santiago Metro teams up with LGTBQ activists to fight discrimination
By Ivan Vargas
April 29th, 2014

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[From right] Oscar Rementería, Rafael Dochao and Ramón Cañas at the campaign’s launch. Photo by Violette Le Gall / The Santiago Times

Posters of gay couples, pregnant women, people with disabilities and elderly fill the underground in a campaign to promote respect for all.

Santiago metro stations have joined forces with the Movement for Integration and Homosexual Freedom (Movilh) in an effort to build awareness and mutual respect among Chileans of diverse sexual orientations, backgrounds, age groups and disabilities.

The campaign consists of posters throughout all 108 of the city’s metro stations, portraying homosexual couples, a boy with Down Syndrome, an elderly woman and a pregnant woman. The campaign kicked off Tuesday with a press conference held at Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) with key campaign organizers in attendance.

Before a crowd of journalists, friends and activists, the event began with introductory words from Ramón Cañas, Santiago Metro general manager. “The metro is a public space and a service used by 2.5 million people. As such, the passengers are very diverse, with different needs and different origins,” Cañas said. “To travel [on the metro] is to share a space, to share a moment together, and this is only possible if we respect one another, valuing our differences. We want a better metro, to be better people, a better city.”

Although a citywide campaign, Cañas explained that Metro Universidad Católica would be considered the initiative’s “emblematic” station in honor of Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old gay man who was brutally murdered because of his sexuality just blocks from the station, in March 2012.

European Union ambassador to Chile, Rafael Dochao, was among those present and whom Movilh’s official spokesperson, Oscar Rementería, thanked for his involvement. “Without [Dochao] this campaign would not have been possible,” Rementería said. Dochao responded that he was proud to have collaborated with Movilh and Chile, and that he hoped the campaign would play a role in the larger effort to fight discrimination worldwide. “For the E.U. it is an honor to be here doing what we are doing, and the metro should also feel very proud,” Dochao said. “This is something that brings Chile and the E.U. closer and brings our values closer. The values of human rights, equality and the struggle against discrimination.”

In an interview with The Santiago Times, Dochao explained that the E.U. had been working with Movilh and the Social Development Ministry for more than a year in the organization and funding of the project.

When Social Development Minister María Fernanda Villegas took the podium she placed the campaign within the broader context of Chile’s aim to reach developed nation status. “Macroeconomic statistics are good indicators [of development], but they are not the most significant for the people,” Villegas said. “With a campaign like this, we are advancing and getting at the heart of what it actually means to build a developed country.”

Villegas went on to discard the concept of “minorities,” saying that when homosexuals, the elderly, the disabled, and any other marginalized group are considered together, they comprise a majority that merits acknowledgement and respect. The minister also hoped that the posters would spark dialogue and debate among the public. “It is our hope that this campaign produces many conversations. It is supposed to surprise us, to make everyone who passes by one of these photos in a metro station ask themselves: What does this mean?” she said. “If it provokes some problems, if someone considers it scandalous, let’s talk about it. It is an invitation to converse.”

Source: Santiago Times.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:17 am 
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Chile sailor publicly discloses his homosexuality
27 August 2014

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Mauricio Ruiz, 24, sailor of the Chilean Navy, right, comes out publicly as gay during a press conference in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday Aug. 27, 2014.
(AP Photo/Eva Vergara)

SANTIAGO, Chile -- A sailor with Chile's navy on Wednesday announced he is gay, an unprecedented public declaration in this socially conservative South American nation.

Chile has traditionally been a tough place for homosexuals, although the country decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and attitudes toward gays are evolving. The killing of a gay man in Chile 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

At a press conference Wednesday, 24-year-old sailor Mauricio Ruiz told reporters he hoped the public disclosure about his sexuality will help dispel myths that gays can't be effective members of Chile's armed forces. Ruiz was accompanied by gay activists for his announcement, which he said was not an easy step to take but one he felt was necessary. "Personally, I hope that this is a contribution to non-discrimination in my society," he said. Ruiz, who is stationed at a port in Valparaiso, said his navy superiors granted permission for him to make his disclosure publicly.

"There is nothing better than being yourself," Ruiz told the press conference. He said he had already told his superiors because he was tired of leading a double life, then decided to go completely public by speaking to the media. "For me it is important to take this step, because to be repressed is to not accept what you are, and that made me unhappy," Ruiz said.

While the gay-rights movement has achieved major victories in some South American nations, homosexuals remain targets of violence and harassment in parts of Central America and the Caribbean. The violent death of a young gay man named Daniel Zamudio at the hands of alleged neo-Nazis prompted a 2012 law that punished people who discriminated against others because of their race, sexual orientation or social status.

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Mauricio Ruiz (L) and his boyfriend Jorge Velasquez pose for photos after a press conference in Santiago, on August 27, 2014 (AFP Photo/Claudio Reyes)

Gay rights groups welcomed Ruiz's announcement. "He took a pioneering decision, worthy of brave people who take the first step," said Oscar Rementeria, spokesman for the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement. Ruiz said his partner initially did not want him to come out because he feared for Ruiz's safety. The partner stood beside him at the press conference. In the end, the reaction was not as adverse as he expected, Ruiz said. "I don't know what I was afraid of," he said.

Source: AP, AFP.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:46 pm 
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Chile Votes for Civil Unions
21 January 2015

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The civil union bill will now head to the Senate for a final vote. | Photo: Reuters

President Michelle Bachelet says civil unions are a stepping stone toward full same sex marriage rights.

Chilean legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill Tuesday that would legalize same-sex civil unions. Eighty-six legislators in the Chamber of Deputies voted for the bill, while 23 voted against it and two abstained. “This is a law that does not discriminate and it gives protection to all couples and families in the country,” government spokesperson Alvaro Elizalde stated.

Many LGBTI rights advocates argue civil unions are still a step away from full marriage rights, though grassroots groups in Chile have largely welcomed the Chamber's decision as a step in the right direction. The bill will now head to the Senate for a final vote.

According to a 2013 Pew poll, around 46 percent of Chileans support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent are opposed. President Michelle Bachelet has stated she supports full marriage equality rights. When she began her current term in March 2014, she vowed to prioritize the civil union bill, but said marriage rights remain her long term goal.

Legislators also voted Tuesday to overhaul the country’s electoral system to make it easier for small parties to compete. The old electoral system was widely derided as a remnant of former dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime. Pinochet introduced the system shortly before he relinquished power in 1990. Spokesperson Elizalde described the outcome of the vote as “without a doubt a historic day for democracy.”

“Because the system approved by Congress guarantees that the vote Chileans express in the voting booth will have a true reflection in the makeup of parliament. Not what like happened in the binominal system which consecrated a tie, over represented the minority and gave the impression that it did not matter who you voted for,” Elizalde added.

Source: Telesur TV.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:02 am 
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Chile Votes for Civil Unions
21 January 2015

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The civil union bill will now head to the Senate for a final vote. | Photo: Reuters

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says civil unions are a stepping stone toward full same sex marriage rights.

Chilean legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill Tuesday that would legalize same-sex civil unions. Eighty-six legislators in the Chamber of Deputies voted for the bill, while 23 voted against it and two abstained. “This is a law that does not discriminate and it gives protection to all couples and families in the country,” government spokesperson Alvaro Elizalde stated.

Many LGBTI rights advocates argue civil unions are still a step away from full marriage rights, though grassroots groups in Chile have largely welcomed the Chamber's decision as a step in the right direction. The bill will now head to the Senate for a final vote.

According to a 2013 Pew poll, around 46 percent of Chileans support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent are opposed. President Michelle Bachelet has stated she supports full marriage equality rights. When she began her current term in March 2014, she vowed to prioritize the civil union bill, but said marriage rights remain her long term goal.

Legislators also voted Tuesday to overhaul the country’s electoral system to make it easier for small parties to compete. The old electoral system was widely derided as a remnant of former dictator Augusto Pinochet's regime. Pinochet introduced the system shortly before he relinquished power in 1990. Spokesperson Elizalde described the outcome of the vote as “without a doubt a historic day for democracy.”

“Because the system approved by Congress guarantees that the vote Chileans express in the voting booth will have a true reflection in the makeup of parliament. Not what like happened in the binominal system which consecrated a tie, over represented the minority and gave the impression that it did not matter who you voted for,” Elizalde added.

Source: Telesur TV.

Chile's Same-Sex Civil Unions Bill Gets Final Approval by Lawmakers
28 January 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chilean lawmakers gave final approval on Wednesday to a bill that recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples.

The legislation now goes to President Michelle Bachelet, who is expected to sign it. Government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde welcomed the bill's passage as "a breakthrough that we are proud of as a government."

The measure has been in the works for four years and will give same-sex and unmarried couples many of the rights granted to married couples. Among the changes, it will allow civil union partners to inherit each other's property, join a partner's health plan and receive pension benefits.

Civil unions have been recognized in several countries across South America, but conservative Chile has been slower to change. It decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and the killing of a gay man in 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

Argentina and Uruguay are the only South American nations to allow full marriage by gays and lesbians.

Source: AP via HuffingtonPost

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:42 am 
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Chile's Bachelet signs same-sex civil union law
13 April 2015
By EVA VERGARA

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In this Dec. 9, 2014 file photo, Chile's President Michelle Bachelet puts on her glasses during a 2014 Iberoamerican Summit event in Veracruz, Mexico. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Monday signed a law that recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples, a sign of change in a country long regarded as one South America's most socially conservative nations.

The measure had been in the works for more than four years, and its signing into law was hailed by gay advocates as step toward full marriage rights. "This ends the monopoly of having to recognize unions, families, as just within marriage," said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement. "This is very good news for Chile."

The new law, to take effect in six months, gives same-sex and unmarried couples many of the rights granted to married couples. Partners can inherit each other's property, join one another's health plans and receive pension benefits. Chile has long been one of the most socially conservative countries in the region. It was one of the last countries in the world to legalize divorce when it took that step in 2004. Chile decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and the killing of a gay man in 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

"Today we're advancing as a society," Bachelet said at the presidential palace. "We're taking a fundamental step on this road of rights, justice and respect for individual liberties."

Civil unions have been recognized in several countries across South America, though Argentina and Uruguay are the only ones that allow gay marriage. The civil union will be validated by simply registering it in the civil registry. Gay unions abroad can also be registered in Chile.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:57 pm 
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Gay couples celebrate civil unions for first time in Chile
22 October 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Dozens of same-sex couples in Chile began celebrating civil unions on Thursday, taking advantage of a new law that gay advocates say is a clear sign of change in a country long regarded as one of Latin America's most socially conservative.

The civil union law was debated in Congress for over a decade until it was passed and signed into law by the president in April. As it went into effect, couples began arriving at civil registry offices early to officially validate their unions. Some wore matching traditional Chilean cowboy garb, others elegant tuxedos and dresses.

"It was beautiful. It was such a nice ceremony. It was all very emotional. Our families were here, everyone was shedding tears," Virginia Gomez told reporters after she registered her union with her partner, Roxana Ortiz. "History changes today," Ortiz said, showing the blue passport-like document that validates their union. The couple had married in Spain but their union was not recognized in Chile. "Now we can make decisions together like a couple. We're thrilled."

Civil union gives same-sex and unmarried couples many of the rights granted to married couples. Partners can inherit each other's property, join one another's health plans and receive pension benefits. They have been recognized in several South American countries, though only Argentina and Uruguay allow formal gay marriage. Gay advocates in Chile are celebrating the right to same-sex civil unions as a step toward full rights.

"The civil union doesn't end our struggle. We're demanding same-sex marriage. We're going to request for the measures stuck in congress to be revived," said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement. Chile decriminalized gay sex in 1999 and It was one of the last countries in the world to legalize divorce, in 2004. The brutal killing of a gay man in 2012 set off a national debate that prompted Congress to pass a hate crimes law.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:50 pm 
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Chile families fight for acceptance of transgender children
By EVA VERGARA
22 August 2017

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Monica Flores was returning from a holiday abroad when Chilean police stopped her for questions at the airport. They were bothered that their records didn't match: She had left the country with a son and returned with a daughter.

Flores had to explain that her 6-year-old registered as a boy identifies as a girl. "It was a distressing moment. I realized that it was urgent that the different institutions of our country could be trained about trans issues to avoid having children undergo these questionings," Flores said.

The uncomfortable incident two years ago led Flores and her ex-husband to launch a legal battle for the rights of their daughter - a struggle that has encouraged the families of other trans children to demand greater acceptance and that has fed the broader debate about gender rights in a country so socially conservative that it legalized divorce just 13 years ago.

The family's efforts led to a landmark decision last year when a judge ordered officials at the civil registry to change the child's name and gender on her birth certificate - a first for someone so young in Chile. "This girl's case touched my heart. I couldn't allow her to continue living in the wrong body before society," Judge Luis Fernandez, who ruled in favor of the child, told the newspaper La Tercera in the only interview that he has granted about the case.

Fernandez's ruling so outraged conservative groups that they filed a criminal complaint against the judge. It was thrown out. At least five other, similar requests for gender registration changes have been filed for minors since Fernandez's decision.

The center-left government itself has been pushing an array of measures for gender rights, ranging from decriminalizing some abortions under legislation upheld Monday by the Constitutional Court to demanding greater acceptance for transgender people in general and children in particular. The Education Ministry issued a directive in May urging schools nationwide to protect the sexual orientation and gender identity of student. The anti-bullying measure urges schools to identify the trans children by their preferred gender. The country's Catholic schools association has promised to resist the measure.

More broadly, the government is backing a bill that would give adults the right to change the official records of their gender, though the measure has stalled in Congress, facing challenges from the Roman Catholic church and other traditional forces.

Even with the measure still in limbo, a Santiago appellate court in June accepted a transgender adult's right to change the registry. It said "every person has the right to the free development of their personality in accordance with their own determination of gender."

The bill before congress initially would have covered children like Flores' daughter, though that was stripped out of the bill after meeting even stiffer resistance. Some doubts came from Chile's association of endocrinologists, which expressed support for letting adults make such legal changes, but said it was premature to do so in childhood, when the body and brain are still developing and when gender identity can sometimes shift with puberty.

Chile in 2012 adopted a law to bar discrimination and hate crimes following the beating death of a gay youth that shocked the country. And in 2015 it recognized civil unions for same-sex couples. Nearly all of those moves have been met with resistance from conservative lawmakers and Catholic leaders who argue that such moves undermine families and society.

Flores' daughter - she asked that the girl be called Luna - is still too young to worry about details of the debate. On a recent day, she fixed a green scarf over her silky black hair and wore a flowered skirt over fuchsia tight pants and a dark vest. She always wanted to be a princess or a fairy when she chose cartoon characters on TV. Soon after she learned how to talk, she asked her mother why she had named her like a boy, if she wanted to be a girl.

Flores and her ex-husband say they're convinced they've done right by their young daughter. "We sought justice because our daughter had endured so much discrimination and uncomfortable moments whenever we had to deal with routine matters, paperwork or visits to the doctor," said her father, Gonzalo Araya. "We've tried to look for information to help her be happy."

The increasing acceptance has led other transgender children to step out of the shadows, backed by their parents. Several took part in last month's Gay Pride parade in the Chilean capital.

Selenna, an 8-year-old with dark brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, brimmed with joy as she jumped around and played with other children. Her mother, Evelyn Silva, said she struggled to find a school that would accept a girl whose birth certificate still lists her as a boy, though she finally succeeded. Selenna, meanwhile, said she never liked celebrating her birthday because she would always get toy cars. "Maybe they didn't notice it," said Selenna. "But I was always (a girl)."

Source: AP

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