In new reforms, Chile will be providing sex change operations as part of its public health policy. This new legislation would help any Chilean who would want the operation but previously could not afford it.
The SAPA-AFP reports that the progressive policy by Chile will help anyone who wants a sex change operation to get one. Previously, sex change operations were only available in private clinics where it could cost anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000. This naturally limited who could get the operation but the move by Chile may make the procedure free for certain people.
The public health policy reform will allow sex change operations to be performed in public hospitals and will be based on the income bracket of the patient. The procedures can be performed in public hospitals in Santiago, Concepcion and Valparaiso. Members of the lowest income bracket are able to get the sex change operation for free.
For Chile, with a population of more than 17 million people, has a transsexual population of around 3,000 to 4,000 people. The reforms are important because previously, according to Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, in comments made to the AFP, "a poor person had no possibility of completing the process of feminization or masculinization."
These are not the only moves made by Chile to reform sexual policies. To prevent discrimination, Chile has reformed public health policy to prevent blood banks from refusing donations based on sexual orientation as well as giving transsexuals the choice in which gender to room with in hospitals.
Chile also passed legislation against sexual and religious discrimination while future legislation may include reforms for domestic partnerships to include homosexual couples.
Chile is not the only South American country making reforms to include transsexuals. Argentina recently passed laws which made it a person's right to change their gender, if they so choose, and that the required sex change operations would be covered by public policies. Argentinians over the age of 18 need no prior consent for gender change operations while children with need consent by their guardian. Argentina was also the first South American country to legalize gay marriage in 2010.