An LGBT Russian man has been granted asylum in Argentina, a first for the Latin American country.
Identified only as “Gene,” the man has been in contact with the La Federación Argentina de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales y Trans (FALGBT) to receive help with the legal process. The group’s president, Esteban Paulon, said in a statement, “Gene is very happy and relieved with this result, and is already planning to ask for Argentinian citizenship once he has fulfilled the 2 year long requirement.
“Without a doubt, the difference between living in a society that persecutes sexual diversity and in which the state is an accomplice [to that persecution]as opposed to living in a country that is every day more equal and in which the state protects the rights of all has a huge impact on one’s life plan.”
He added, “While we work to end discrimination and violence all over the world, it is important that we give all people the possibility of enjoying their human rights in our country, and we hope that there will be more countries that open themselves up to those who are discriminated against for their orientation or their gender identity.”
During the summer of 2014, Russian couple Marina Mironova and Oxana Tamofeeba also applied for asylum in Argentina after marrying in the country and subsequently receiving threats from people in their home country. The two are still awaiting a verdict regarding their case.
Argentina legalized marriage equality in 2010, making it the tenth in the world and the first Latin American country to do so.
Senators in the country unanimously approved the “Gender Identity Law” in 2012, granting adults access to hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery as part of their healthcare coverage, public or private. Additionally, any Argentinan may change their name, gender marker, or picture in civil registries without first getting legal or medical approval.
There are currently no laws at the federal level protecting LGBT Argentinans from discrimination, but GLAAD noted, “Gene will now join a civil society that on paper boasts many protections for LGBT individuals and families that promote wellbeing, equity, access and justice.”