Christina Fernandez de Kirchner is president of Argentina. On Monday she celebrated the new Argentinian law which set a new precedent in equality for transgender people by personally handing out some new ID cards to about a half dozen transpeople who were invited to join her public acknowledgement of the new law.
What sets us apart is that we care not only about ourselves and our immediate circle, but about others as well. Today we’re setting a new standard for equality and legality.
Lots of children were in the room when President Kirchner spoke because she was also signing a presidential decree eliminating the loophole that kept same-sex parents who began raising children before the passage of the 2010 marriage equality law from registering as co-parents of those children. The decree will give parents not covered by the marriage equality law a year to register as parents of those children.
Standing before the image of Eva Peron, she teared up as she mentioned her husband Nestor several times. Nestor, former Argentinian president, was instrumental in securing passage of tmarriage equality before he died in October, 2010.
Today is a day of tremendous reparation. Today we do not shout for liberation but instead we shout for equality, which is just as important as freedom.
Referring to Kayim Adrian, the transman holding the flag in the above photo, the president stated that Mr. Adrian had known he's a man since he was 4…and that only now, at 42, he is being recognized for who he is.
Noting that the average age at which transgender individuals die in Argentina is 32, the president argued that part of it was due to the stress of being repressed and ignored and being denied legal rights. She said she hoped this law would change all that.
I do not want to use a word that bothers me greatly: Tolerance. No. I do not believe in 'tolerance'. To tolerate is to say I'll allow you to be because I have no other choice. I want to talk about equality and I want to talk about all of you who will now have the same rights I have enjoyed from the moment I was born and the rights that so many millions of Argentinians have enjoyed from the moment they were born. This is the society we want.
There is nothing new under the sun and let's see if we all can agree on that. All these issues we are acknowledging today in a legal way are nothing new. They stem from the history of humanity and it's time for us to accept that reality is not how we'd like to be if I think in a certain way or someone else wants it to be but that reality is what it is.
The President then alluded to the days of the dictatorship when children were taken away from families and the Mothers of the Plaza began their silent protests to get their children back and championed a history of peaceful protests in Argentina in demand of human rights. She compared it to the history of non-violent demonstrations by the Argentinian LGBT community and began thanking the LGBT activists and organizations present in the room until Alex Freyre shouted out "And those who are missing as well!"
Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello were the first South American same-sex couple to marry when a court in Tierra del Fuego granted them a license in December, 2009. They sat in the audience wearing red sashes in memory of those lost to HIV and AIDS.
The president noted that the fight for human rights often leaves people feeling worn down, but that the altruistic efforts for the rights of others by some are worth it.
It's better to have lived a worn out life than to always live like a flower or a butterfly without having achieved a thing.