Costa Rica Rules Transgender People Can Change Name, Gender, On Official Documents

The gender assigned at birth will no longer appear on identity documents.

A ruling by Costa Rica’s supreme electoral court will allow citizens to change their gender on official documents so that it matches their gender identity.

Monday’s ruling by the top authority for the civil register means the gender assigned at birth will no longer appear on identity documents, to avoid discrimination or stigma against those who transition. The process will be accomplished through a simple and free procedure, the court declared.

Transgender people have been able to change their legal name on documentation since 2013 but it required a judicial order and changing the actual gender was not allowed.

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The ruling comes shortly after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica to revise its gender identity policy, and to approve same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.

The election of president Carlos Alvarado in February signaling to many an improvement for LGBT equality in the Central American nation. During his campaign Alvarado supported same-sex marriage, unlike his opponent, evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado, who insisted marriage equality violated Costa Rican values.

Same-sex marriage is currently legalized in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and in some Mexican states.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.