Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Argentina are among the most advanced in the world. Upon legalising same-sex marriage on 15 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second in the Americas, and the tenth in the world to do so.[1] After Argentina's transition to a democracy in 1983, its laws have become more inclusive and accepting of LGBT people, as has public opinion.

Argentina also "has one of the world's most comprehensive transgender rights laws":[2] its Gender Identity Law, passed in 2012, allows people to change their gender identities without facing barriers such as hormone therapy, surgery or psychiatric diagnosis that labels them as having an abnormality.[3][4] Because of the law, as well as the creation of alternative schools and the first transgender community centre in Latin America, BBC Mundo reported in 2014 that "Argentina leads the trans revolution in the world."[5] In 2015, the World Health Organization cited Argentina as an exemplary country for providing transgender rights.[4]

Societal acceptance is also very high. In a 2013 Pew Center poll, Argentina was ranked the Latin American country with the most positive societal attitudes towards homosexuality, with about three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed saying it should be accepted.[6] The country's capital and largest city, Buenos Aires, has become an important recipient of LGBT tourism and has been described as "Latin America's gay capital".[7][8] Nevertheless, reports of discrimination against LGBT people, especially youth, are still common.[9]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity

Same-sex sexual activity in Argentina has been legal since 1887.[10] The age of consent is 15 for all genders and sexual orientations.[11][12]


While same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private had been legal since 1887, there were no civil rights laws designed to protect LGBT people, and public opinion tended to look down upon LGBT people.[13]

During the nineteenth century writings on homosexuality treated it as a medical pathology, an accusation to be levied against political opponents or something brought into the nation by foreigners.[13] The only public image of homosexuality was urban prostitution and public locations used for cruising. In 1914, a homosexual-themed play named Los Invertidos was forced to shut down, although medical journals were permitted to discuss homosexuality.

Police harassment of homosexuals is reported to have increased during the first military coup of 1930 which initiated the Infamous Decade. In 1936, a mass arrest of homosexual men prompted legislation to legalize and regulate heterosexual prostitution based on the argument that men were turning to homosexuality out of desperation.[14] Reports on the policies during the Peronist terms (1946 to 1955) are vague and contradictory. In 1946, Eva Perón extended her personal protection to Miguel de Molina, and some reports claim Juan Perón ordered the police and the military not to engage in gay bashings.

The first LGBT rights organizations to be established were Nuestro Mundo (1969) and Safo (1972). Together, they represented the homosexual liberation front that sought an alliance with the political left in order to advance civil rights. The 1976 coup eradicated this movement and many of its members were among the thousands of "disappeared" people.[13] The return to democracy in 1983 allowed for the creation of an LGBT rights movement. During this initial era of democratization, the first gay bar opened and the LGBT community began to become more open,[15] with pride festivals, publications and political activism.

While not given official recognition until 1992, the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina publicly campaigned for the human rights of LGBT people. Since 1987, the rights of gay and bisexual women have been defended by Cuadernos de Existencia Lesbiana. Significant legal and social progress began to be seen in the 1990s.

In 2007, the International Gay World Cup was held in Buenos Aires, with the Argentina team winning.[16]

In recent years, there has been an effort to encourage LGBT tourists to visit Buenos Aires, with the hope that the increased tourism will help the economy.[15]

In 2015, a judge reduced the sentence of a man convicted of raping a six-year-old boy, on the basis that the young child had a "homosexual orientation".[17] Agence France-Presse reported that Aníbal Fernández called for the impeachment of the judges that made that decision, describing it as "one of the biggest disgraces we've ever seen in this country".[18]

Recognition of same-sex relationships


In 2005, following the institution of civil unions in the province Río Negro and the city of Buenos Aires, a judge ordered prison authorities in the Córdoba Province to allow conjugal visits between gay prisoners and their partners. The law approving civil unions for same-sex couples in both the city of Buenos Aires and the Río Negro Province was endorsed in 2003, and in the town of Villa Carlos Paz in 2007.[19] In 2009, the city of Río Cuarto also began allowed civil unions. These unions provided many of the same rights and privileges as that of married couples, however, adoption of children were not included among them. Civil unions were eventually made legal nationwide on 1 August 2015 after the Código Civil y Commercial which replaced the former Civil Code came into effect.[20]

An early-2007 poll showed that 75% of those surveyed in the city of Buenos Aires believed gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry,[21] whereas 66% of Argentinans supported same-sex marriage in 2009, if consideration was given to the whole country.[22]

2009 court ruling

In November 2009, a judge ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and permitted a male couple, Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello, to be married. The decision was hailed as a "legal first" by Reuters who said it was "setting a precedent that could pave the way for the Catholic country to become the first in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage".[23] Freyre and Di Bello confirmed they were "the first same-sex couple in Latin America to get the right to marry".[23] The Chief of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, confirmed the city's Government would not be appealing the decision.[24][25] Macri said that the decision was "an important step, because we must learn how to live in freedom without hurting the rights of others",[26] later adding that "we must cohabit, and accept this reality. The world is heading toward that direction".[27] The wedding was finally suspended after another judge revoked the original decision in late November 2009 (2009-11).[28] Finally, on 28 December 2009, the couple got married in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego Province, becoming the first same-sex married couple in Latin America.[29][30] They were supported by the Governor of Tierra del Fuego, Fabiana Ríos, who signed a decree approving the wedding based in the judicial rule of November 2009 (2009-11). Because that decision applied only in the case presented by Freyre and Di Bello, other same-sex couples had to appeal to the Judicial Power, wait for the resolution of unconstitutionality and then go to Tierra del Fuego to marry.[31]

Same-sex marriage legalisation

Same-sex marriage was legalised in Argentina on 15 July 2010, after a positive vote in both the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and the Senate (upper house).[32][33] Same-sex couples are thus eligible for the same benefits and protections as opposite-sex couples (including adoption).[34] Some cities also have civil union laws that continue to be in place as an alternative to marriage, but offer more limited rights. After the law was passed, Argentina became the second country in the Americas to legalise same-sex marriage,[35] as well as the first in Latin America[36][37][38] and the tenth worldwide, following Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.[34]

Adoption and parenting

Same-sex couples have been able to legally adopt since July 2010, when the same-sex marriage legislation went into effect.[38]

Since 2013, lesbian couples have had equal access to IVF. A law allowing such procedures was approved by Congress 203 votes to 1 in June 2013.[39]

Discrimination protections

LGBT flag map of Argentina

As of 2017, no national law exists to expressly deal with discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, although the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and the city of Rosario (the third most populous of the country, ruled by the Socialist Party) do include sexual orientation in their civil rights laws. On 13 August 2010, the Chamber of Deputies approved amendment to the anti-discrimination law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but it was not voted by the Senate.[40][41] New proposal was introduced in May 2013.[42][43]

On 27 March 2015, a comprehensive federal anti-discrimination law was introduced in the National Congress by the leading LGBT rights group and several members of Congress. The bill's first debate in a commission was on 29 April,[44][45] but it was later stalled. A new bill was introduced in the Senate in June 2016.[46][47]

Hate crimes law

In 2012, Law No 26.791 amended the Penal Code adding life imprisonment to hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.[48]

Article 80(4) of the Penal Code, based on "Crime against individuals" states that life imprisonment shall be imposed to anyone who kills for pleasure, greed and hatred based on racial, religious reasons, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.[49]

Military service

On 27 February 2009, Argentina's Parliament passed a broad military reform act. One of the provisions of the law allows gay, lesbians and bisexuals to serve in the military and bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation within the armed forces. The law became effective six months after passage.[50][51]

Gender identity and expression

Gay Pride Parade in Buenos Aires (2007).

Discrimination and harassment on the account of gender identity remain a problem, although the transgender community has become more visible and politically organized.

In 1997, the Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti-Transsexual was created to defend the rights of transgender people. One of its first victories came in 2006 when the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that had stated that transgender people did not have a legal right to organize and campaign for their rights.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that a 17-year-old had the legal right to go through the sex change process and have her legal documents changed to reflect the operation.[52]

In 2009, Marcela Romero won the legal right to have her identity changed, and was given an honorary title by the Government. She was awarded by the Honorable Congresswoman of the year. Romero remains one of the leading advocates for the human rights of transgender people in Argentina.[53]

In 2012, senators unanimously approved the Gender Identity Law. This law grants adults sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy as a part of their public or private health care plans. The law also allows for changes to gender, image or birth name on civil registries without the approval of a doctor or a judge.[3] In 2013, a six-year-old girl named Luana, who was designated male at birth, became the first transgender child in Argentina to have her new name officially changed on her identity documents. She is believed to be the youngest to benefit from the country's Gender Identity Law.[54]

Blood donation

In September 2015, Argentina abolished its ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.[55]

Conversion therapy

Since 2010, no diagnosis can be made in the field of mental health on the exclusive basis of sexual orientation or identity.[56][57]

Living conditions

Argentina is frequently referred to as one of the most LGBT-friendly Latin American countries.

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, an LGBT social network, ranked Argentina as the second happiest South American country for gay men, after Uruguay.[58]

Public opinion

A 2013 Pew Center Research opinion poll ranked Argentina the most positive Latin American country in regards to societal attitudes towards homosexuality, with about three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed saying it should be accepted.[6] A majority of Argentinians support the legalisation of same-sex marriage.[59]


Comprehensive sexual education remains a taboo topic in Argentina politics.[60] As such it is difficult to implement a preventative campaign that will target the youth due to religious objections from clergy, parents and local officials. Likewise, while health care is the right of each citizen, it is often elusive for people living in rural communities. Much of the funding for public education and treatment has come from private charities, NGO's and international organizations.

Summary table

Right Legal status
Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1887)
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No (Pending)[61]
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No (Pending)[62]
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (including indirect discrimination, hate speech) No (Pending)
Hate crimes law including sexual orientation and gender identity Yes (Since 2012)
Same-sex marriage Yes (Since 2010)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2010)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2010)
Lesbians, gays and bisexuals allowed to serve in the military Yes (Since 2009)
Right to change legal gender Yes (Since 2010)[63]
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes (Since 2013)
Conversion therapy banned Yes (Since 2010)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Yes[64][65][66]
MSM allowed to donate blood Yes (Since 2015)[67][68]

See also


  1. ^ "Argentine Senate backs bill legalising gay marriage". BBC News. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (24 March 2016). "Argentina joins global LGBT rights initiative". Washington Blade. Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Argentina OKs transgender rights: ID changes, sex-change operations and hormone therapy". 9 May 2012. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b Lahrichi, Kamilia; La Valle, Leo (4 April 2016). "Argentina's Field of Dreams for the LGBT". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  5. ^ de los Reyes, Ignacio (16 May 2015). "Por qué Argentina lidera la revolución trans en el mundo". BBC Mundo. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "The Global Divide on Homosexuality" (PDF). Pew Research Center. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Haljuci, Rusha (24 August 2010). "Q&A: Gay-Friendly Spots in Buenos Aires". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  8. ^ Santagati, Adriana (1 November 2003). "Buenos Aires, nueva capital del turismo gay de Sudamérica". Clarín. Clarín Group. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Adolecentes gays: el 70 por ciento sufre discriminación en el colegio
  10. ^ Lucas, Paoli Itaborahy; Zhu, Jingshu (May 2013). "A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex law" (PDF). International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Laws–Argentina". GayLawNet. Archived from the original on 1 September 2014. The age of consent for sexual activity is obtained [at] fifteen (15) years. 
  12. ^ "Legislation of Interpol member states on sexual offences against children–Argentina" (PDF). Interpol. 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2012. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b c
  14. ^ "ARGENTINA: Back to the Bordello". TIME. 10 January 1955. Retrieved 3 February 2010. (subscription required)
  15. ^ a b Barrionuevo, Alexei (29 November 2007). "Macho Argentina warms to gay dollars and euros". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2014.  
  16. ^ "Argentine team beats British side to win gay world cup". Associated Press. 29 September 2007. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Argentinian judges reduce paedophile's sentence 'because six-year-old victim was gay'". The Telegraph. 19 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Impeachment call for Argentine 'moron' judges' child abuse ruling". Agence France-Presse. 19 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Cordoba: approve the civil union between homosexuals in Villa Carlos Paz, Clarin.con, retrieved on 23 November 2007
  20. ^ "CÓDIGO CIVIL Y COMERCIAL DE LA NACIÓN" (PDF) (in Spanish). Biblioteca Jurídica Central. Retrieved 17 August 2017. 
  21. ^ "Argentina Moving Toward Gay Marriage Rights". 365Gay.com. 1 March 2007. Archived from the original on 3 March 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Según una encuesta, el 66% de los argentinos está a favor del matrimonio gay" [According to a poll, 66% of the Argentines approve gay marriage] (in Spanish). El Intransigente. 10 November 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  23. ^ Di Nicola, Gabriel (14 November 2009). "Macri respaldó el casamiento entre gays" [Macri endorses the gay marriage] (in Spanish). La Nación. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Buenos Aires mayor won't appeal same-sex ruling". CNN. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "BA mayor not to appeal ruling allowing gay marriage". Buenos Aires Herald. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "Freyre, Di Bello expected to wed next month, Macri supports same-sex marriages, won't appeal court ruling". Buenos Aires Herald. 14 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  27. ^ "Argentine judge stops gay marriage". BBC News. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "Argentine gay couple becomes first in region to marry". BBC News. 29 December 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  29. ^ "La pareja gay pudo casarse finalmente en un registro civil de Tierra del Fuego" [The gay couple finally got married in Tierra del Fuego] (in Spanish). La Nación. 28 December 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  30. ^ Soriano, Fernando (29 December 2009). "Se concretó en Ushuaia el primer matrimonio gay" [First gay marriage accomplished at Ushuaia] (in Spanish). Clarín. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  31. ^ Perasso, Valeria (15 July 2010). "Argentina aprueba el matrimonio gay" [Argentina approves gay marriage] (in Spanish). BBC Mundo. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  32. ^ "Upper House approves same-sex marriage bill after marathon-like debate". Buenos Aires Herald. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Q&A: Argentina gay marriage law". BBC News. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage. 
  34. ^ Forero, Juan (15 July 2010). "Argentina becomes second nation in Americas to legalize gay marriage". The Seattle Times. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  35. ^ "Es ley el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo" [Same-sex marriage becomes law] (in Spanish). La Nación. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. 
  36. ^ "World press echoes same-sex marriage landmark decision". Buenos Aires Herald. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  37. ^ a b "L'Argentine premier pays d'Amérique latine à autoriser le mariage homosexuel" [Argentina becomes the first Latin American country in legalising homosexual marriage] (in French). Le Parisien. 15 July 2010. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. 
  38. ^ Gay, lesbian or straight in Argentina now to get IVF treatment
  39. ^ "Diputados da media sanción a modificación de Ley Antidiscriminatoria" [Deputies give half sanction to the modification of the Antidiscriminatory Law] (in Spanish). SentidoG.com. 13 August 2010. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  40. ^ La ley antidiscriminatoria ya tiene media sancion de diputados[dead link]
  41. ^ (in Spanish) Discriminadores con castigo
  43. ^ (in Spanish) PROYECTO DE LEY
  44. ^ (in Spanish) Buscan replicar Ley de la Ciudad en la Nación
  45. ^ (in Spanish) La Federación Argentina LGBT presentó la nueva ley antidiscriminatoria en el Senado
  46. ^ Will This be the Year Argentina Approves a New Anti-Discrimination Law?
  47. ^ "CODIGO PENAL Ley 26.791". servicios.infoleg.gob.ar. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  48. ^ "CODIGO PENAL DE LA NACION ARGENTINA". servicios.infoleg.gob.ar. Retrieved 5 October 2016. 
  49. ^ "Homosexuales podrán ser militares en Argentina" [Homosexuals will be accepted in the military in Argentina] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: El Universal. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  50. ^ "Militares gays no serán penalizados en las Fuerzas Armadas Argentinas" [Gay military personnel will not be punished in the Argentine Armed Forces] (in Spanish). AG Magazine. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  51. ^ "Argentina autoriza por primera vez una operación de cambio de sexo a un menor" [Argentine authorises change-of-sex surgery for the first time] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: El Mundo. EFE. 26 September 2007. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  52. ^ "Fighting stigma against sexual minorities in Latin America". UNAIDS. 19 September 2006. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  53. ^ Bowater, Donna (27 September 2013). "Six-year-old becomes first transgender child in Argentina to change identity". The Telegraph. Rio de Janeiro. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. 
  54. ^ Argentina lifts ban on gay and bi men donating blood
  55. ^ "LEY NACIONAL DE SALUD MENTAL Nº 26657" (PDF). Ministry of Health. 
  57. ^ The Gay Happiness Index. The very first worldwide country ranking, based on the input of 115,000 gay men Planet Romeo
  58. ^ Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  59. ^ Segal, Joshua (25 April 2008). "Argentina's fight against HIV and Aids". The Argentina Independent. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. Frieder argues that sexual education is one of the greatest resources being neglected by the government. [additional citation(s) needed]
  60. ^ (in Spanish) Artículo 16 de la Constitutción Nacional Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  61. ^ (in Spanish) Ley Antidiscriminatoria (Nº 23.592)
  62. ^ "Senate passes 'gender idendity' law". Buenos Aires Herald. 9 May 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. 
  63. ^ (in Spanish) Una pareja de hombres argentinos registra a un bebé como su hijo
  64. ^ (in Spanish) Somos una pareja gay que cumplió su deseo de tener hijos
  65. ^ (in Spanish) Una pareja gay puede conseguir ser padres de un bebé mediante una gestación subrogada, aunque no existe ninguna ley al respecto
  66. ^ Argentina Abolishes Gay Blood Ban
  67. ^ (in Spanish) Nuevas normas para la donación de sangre

External links