Santiago (AFP) - Chile on Wednesday enacted a gender identity law that will allow people over 14 to change their name and gender on official identity documents.
President Sebastian Pinera said the new law, approved by parliament in September following five years of debate, would end "discrimination" in an already "highly prejudiced society."
"All people are equal, in dignity, rights, and therefore should be the architects of their own lives," added the center-right president.
While transgender people over 18 will be able to change their gender at a registry office, those between 14 and 18 will need to obtain permission from parents or guardians.
"Today we're taking a historic leap that will improve the quality of life for the trans population," said Rolando Jimenez, leader of the Integration and Homosexual Liberation Movement (Movilh).
"A basic right, that of identity, is being recognized. It's a right that most of us have from birth but which is taken from the trans population at birth."
However, Jimenez believes the law should go further to include children younger than 14, adding that it's an "obvious violation of human rights that we hope will be corrected."
The gender identity law gained traction in the country following the international success of a 2017 Chilean film, "A Fantastic Woman," starring the transgender actress Daniela Vega.