Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti (far right) a protest fighting for their rights with colleagues | Photo courtesy of Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti

Fight for non-binary identity makes history in Argentina

This change gives non-binary people visibility, validates us, and shows society that we are not living in confusion. It is an identity all its own.  We resist, we exist, and we are people who have family, work, and everyday life.

Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti
Interview Subject
Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti, 28, began to seek legal rectification of their gender label in early 2019, but the Civil Registry of Tierra del Fuego denied Sosa Battisti the registration change.

Sosa Battisti filed an appeal, and in December 2019, the Tierra del Fuego Court of First Instance ruled in favor of Sosa Battisti and ordered the agency to grant the rectified birth certificate.
Background Information
Sosa Battisti’s case resulted in Decree 476/2021 published in July 2021 in Argentina’s Official Gazette. According to Article 4 of the decree, “the nomenclature ‘X’ ”in the ‘sex’ field will include the following meanings: non-binary, indeterminate, unspecified, indefinite, not informed, self-perceived, not recorded; or another meaning with which the person who does not feel included in the masculine/feminine binomial could identify.”

Argentina is the first country in the region to offer such an option. It’s also available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some states in the US.

USHUAIA, Argentina — Identity is a fundamental right that is sometimes still overlooked. In my teens, I began to doubt my gender identity. At first, I believed that it could be a fleeting thing, but as the years went by, I realized that I perceived myself as non-binary.

After about a decade, my tremendous personal desire to achieve recognition of my personal identity prompted me to fight for the rights of others who do not feel identified with the female/male pronouns.

Uncomfortable with existing labels

In 2019, an episode on television about gender identity caught my attention—It seemed to describe my life perfectly. I began to investigate and eventually realized that neither hetero norm represented me.

I always lived in freedom, but it felt tortuous every time I had to do paperwork. It was difficult for me to see the gender on my National Identity Document and forms not represent me.

I tried not to use them often, and I invented excuses like forgetting or losing my ID. Still, when people asked my name and it didn’t match my appearance, they tended to doubt me.

I often saw people mock me and heard whispers around me but took it with humor, because I honestly did not care what they said. Though I felt discriminated against because of my gender identity, the only support that mattered to me was my family and friends. I ignored the rest.

Claiming my true identity

I do not consider myself male or female, and I became determined to get an ID that matched my genuine identity.

At the beginning of 2021, I went to the Civil Registry of Ushuaia to modify my ID, but the government rejected it. I was the first case in the city and the Tierra del Fuego Province.

However, I knew I wanted to continue fighting for my right to self-awareness. After the rejection, lawyers from the non-governmental organization Red Diversa Positiva presented my appeal on my behalf.

I worried and ranted to several friends and the lawyers who accompanied me, because at first I didn’t believe that it was going to happen. I was nervous, and it was a crazy situation. However, they were with me the entire time, and I felt supported.

We initiated an “appeal for discrimination in breach of the gender identity law,” and I went to court. 

After eight months of uncertainty, nervousness and struggle, the Tierra del Fuego court ruled in my favor and ordered the civil registry to grant me the rectified birth certificate. The government did not appeal and issued a new birth certificate and a new ID within five days.

Finally, I had my correct, current name in my identification, and my corresponding sex of “non-binary/egalitarian.”

At that moment, I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled and in disbelief; radiating happiness, but I couldn’t quite understand what it meant yet. I was so grateful to my best friend and those from Red Diversa Positiva who assisted in my case. They were by my side each step of the way and helped me have the courage to go on this beautiful adventure. Thanks to their help, my life changed forever.

I am here, and I exist

My ID showing “non-binary/egalitarian” as my gender will relieve me when doing paperwork and facing life. I no longer have to explain who I am or hide.

This change gives non-binary people visibility, validates us, and shows society that we are not living in confusion. It is an identity all its own.  We resist, we exist, and we are people who have family, work, and everyday life.

I hope this change ensures future generations do not suffer around this issue. I also hope that from now on, all of Argentina’s provinces comply with the national decree and that no one else has to suffer for the mere fact of not being in the hetero norm.

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Journalist with more than three years in radio, graphic media, and producing independent documentaries.

Traveling is one of my passions along with the radio, writing, and reading.

I am passionate about interviewing characters of all kinds: political, social, musical, and cultural.

I am always trying to communicate looking for the other side of the news or the story, but always with the truth.