Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

By Josey Law, age 10 and IndyKids Staff

Argentina has become the first Latin American country to officially recognize non-binary people. The country is now allowing people to put an “X” on national identity documents if they do not identify as male or female. 

The change was enacted by President Alberto Fernández on July 21. One of the first people to be given a non-binary identification document was Gerónimo Carolina González Devesa, according to the Human Rights Watch. Devesa, a 34-year-old doctor, expressed that “Leaving this binary [system] implies being able to start working in a world in which all people can enter and that effectively respects all identities.”

Argentina’s step toward gender inclusivity follows countries like New Zealand, Canada and Australia. While it is not federally recognized in the United States, some states, including Arkansas, California, Hawaii and Illinois, already legally recognize non-binary people on some state identification documents. However, some LGBTQAI+ advocates say that they do not want to be Xes; they want all ID forms to not include any gender identifiers at all. 

“Language reveals the inequalities that exist in society at large.”

Judge Elena Liberatori

This is not the first push for gender inclusivity in Argentina, as some activists have been fighting to make their language more inclusive. Some have been pushing for the letter “e” to replace the masculine “o” and the feminine “a” in the Spanish language. Non-binary people are not the only ones standing up for this change. According to the New York Times, President Fernández has openly used gender-neutral language like “Argentines.”

However, the idea of gender neutrality in language has been strongly opposed by some,

including the Royal Spanish Academy, an organization which manages the most authoritative dictionary in the Spanish language. They have argued that gender-inclusive language is unnecessary. 

Judge Elena Liberatori, a Buenos Aires city judge who supports the move to a more gender-neutral language, suggested that “language reveals the inequalities that exist in society at large,” in an interview with the New York Times. The U.N. has said that using gender-inclusive language is an extremely important way to promote gender equality and combat gender bias.