LGBT rights in Bolivia
|LGBT rights in Bolivia|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Yes|
|Gender identity/expression||Right to change legal gender since 2016|
|Same-sex marriage not allowed|
|Adoption||Married and single people allowed to adopt|
- 1 Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
- 2 Discrimination protections
- 3 Recognition of same-sex unions
- 4 Adoption of children
- 5 Transgender people
- 6 Military service
- 7 Blood donation
- 8 Public opinion
- 9 Summary table
- 10 See also
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity is legal.
The age of consent in Bolivia is set at 14, per Article 308 Bis, Violación Infantes, Niña, Niño y Adolescentes, which punishes rape (violacion) of children under 14, "even without the use of force or intimidation and when consent is alleged" (así no haya uso de la fuerza o intimidación y se alegue consentimiento). There is a close in age exemption of three years.
The Law Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, defines discrimination as “any form of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on sex, colour, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, origin, culture, nationality, citizenship, language, religion, ideology, political or philosophical affiliation, marital status, economic, social or health status, profession, occupation, level of education, disabilities and/or physical disabilities, intellectual or sensory impairment, pregnancy, origin, physical appearance, clothing, surname or other that have the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by the Constitution and international law.” It also provides definitions for homophobia and transphobia.
Article 23 of the law, amended the Penal Code. Therefore, Article 281ter. of the Penal Code criminalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, Article 281quarter. on "dissemination and incitement to racism and discrimination" states that anyone who “through any means broadcasts ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, or that promote or justify racism or any kind of discrimination on the grounds described above; or that incite to violence or persecution of people, based on racist or discriminatory motives, will be imprisoned from one to five years.”[Note 2]
These protections, however, are not always carried out.
Hate crimes law
No laws condemn hate crimes against LGBT people in Bolivia. In May 2016, the LGBT rights group Colectivo de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales y personas Transgénero presented to the Plurinational Legislative Assembly a draft law against hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which includes a penalty of 30 years imprisonment.
Recognition of same-sex unions
In April 2012, a member of the opposition coalition, the National Convergence, introduced a bill in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly to legalize same-sex civil unions. However, the bill has not advanced.
In July 2014 Bolivia's public advocate Rolando Villena called for same-sex unions to be included in the country's new Family Code. On 16 October 2014, the Bolivian Senate passed a revised Family Code that did away with any gender-specific terms. Couples had hoped that this may open the door to giving gay couples many rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. The Code was approved in the House of Representatives and was enacted in August 2015. The new Family Code made no mention of gender to do away with discrimination, but it was clarified that it has no legal weight to apply to gay couples, as a separate law is needed. LGBT rights groups have begun asking the government to pass a law so they may finally be recognised.
In April 2015, the country's Vice President stated that "sooner rather than later" a discussion on same-sex partnerships would happen in Bolivia. This statement was followed by the Senate President's comments that the Government is open to discussing the idea although the initiative is not on the current agenda. Both the leading party MAS and the opposition have expressed being open to dialogue on the issue.
On 21 September 2015, the country's largest LGBT rights group handed the Bolivian Assembly a bill to legalize same-sex unions under the term "Family Life Agreement". The Family Life Agreement proposal seeks to grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples with the exception of adoptions.
Adoption of children
Article 84 of Law No. 548 - Child and Adolescent Code, allows single people to adopt children, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, joint adoption may only be requested by legally married couples or in a free union.
On 25 November 2015 a law was proposed that would allow transgender people to change their legal name and genders.
On 19 May 2016, the Chamber of Deputies of Bolivia passed the Gender Identity law. A day after, the Senate passed the measure by simple majority votes. On 21 May 2016, the bill was signed into law by Vice President Álvaro García Linera. The law took effect on August 1, 2016.
The Gender Identity law allows individuals over 18 to legally change their name, gender and photography on legal documents. A psychological test proving that the person knows and voluntarily assumes the change of identity is a requirement, but gender reassignment surgery is not. The process is confidential and must carry out before the Civil Registry Service. The processing of the new documentation will take 15 days. The change of name and gender will be reversible once, after which they can not modify these data again.
The Armed Forces of Bolivia does not officially allow LGBT people to serve openly. Despite the Law Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, there is no inclusion. Homosexuality in the military is still considered taboo.
Supreme Decree 24547 of 1997, establishes in its article 16, the permanent prohibition as blood donors to homosexual and bisexual persons.
A poll conducted in June 2015 found that 74% of Bolivians did not support same-sex marriage. However the same poll found greater support for same-sex marriage among younger people and residents of La Paz.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal|||
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment||(Since 2009-2010)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services||(Since 2009-2010)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)||(Since 2009-2010)|
|Hate crimes laws covering both sexual orientation and gender identity||(Proposed)|
|Gays allowed to serve in the military|
|Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. civil unions)||(Pending)|
|Same-sex marriage||(Constitutional ban since 2009)|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Adoption by single LGBT person|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Right to change legal gender||(Since 2016)|
|Conversion therapy banned on minors|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood||(Permanent deferral since 1997)|
- Hurtado, Edson (2014). Indígenas homosexuals - Un acercamiento a la cosmovisión sobre diversidades sexuales de siete pueblos originarios del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Moxeños, Afrobolivianos, Quechuas, Ayoreos, Guaraníes, Tacanas y Aymaras) (PDF). Conexión Fondo de Emancipación. (Spanish)
- The official text of Article 14(II) in Spanish (Constitución Política del Estado):
El Estado prohíbe y sanciona toda forma de discriminación fundada en razón de sexo, color, edad, orientación sexual, identidad de género, origen, cultura, nacionalidad, ciudadanía, idioma, credo religioso, ideología, filiación política o filosófica, estado civil, condición económica o social, tipo de ocupación, grado de instrucción, discapacidad, embarazo, u otras que tengan por objetivo o resultado anular o menoscabar el reconocimiento, goce o ejercicio, en condiciones de igualdad, de los derechos de toda persona.
- The official text of Article 281ter. in Spanish (Ley Contra el Racismo y Toda Forma de Discriminación):
La persona que arbitrariamente e ilegalmente obstruya, restrinja, menoscabe, impida o anule el ejercicio de los derechos individuales y colectivos, por motivos de sexo, edad, género, orientación sexual e identidad de género, identidad cultural, filiación familiar, nacionalidad, ciudadanía, idioma, credo religioso, ideología, opinión política o filosófica, estado civil, condición económica o social, enfermedad, tipo de ocupación, grado de instrucción, capacidades diferentes o discapacidad física, intelectual o sensorial, estado de embarazo, procedencia regional, apariencia física y vestimenta, será sancionado con pena privativa de libertad de uno a cinco años.
- (Spanish) Constitución Política del Estado
- (Spanish) Ley Contra el Racismo y Toda Forma de Discriminación
- 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Bolivia, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, page 18
- Opinion, Diario. "Plantean 30 años de cárcel para crímenes por homofobia". Diario Opinión (in Spanish).
- CONSTITUCIÓN POLÍTICA DEL ESTADO PLURINACIONAL DE BOLIVIA
- (Spanish) "Gobierno boliviano no tiene en sus planes aprobar el matrimonio gay", Sentidog, 17 July 2010
- (Spanish)"El Parlamento boliviano estudia ley para reconocer concubinatos homosexuales", ABC.es, 11 April 2012
- (Spanish)"Proyecto para aprobar matrimonios gay entra al Legislativo", HoyBolivia.com, 9 April 2012
- (Spanish) Séptimo Día. Matrimonio homosexual, aún no hay debate en Bolivia. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "Bolivia's Public Advocate Calls On Government To Allow Same-Sex Civil Unions"
- (Spanish)"Nuevo Código de Familias boliviano da derechos a uniones del mismo sexo"
- Código de familia plantea que la fidelidad sea un deber conyugal
- El MAS se abre a debatir la unión gay en el Legislativo
- Entregan propuesta sobre parejas del mismo sexo
- "CÓDIGO NIÑA, NIÑO Y ADOLESCENTE LEY Nº 548" (PDF). Retrieved 6 March 2017.
- Bolivia proposes law allowing transgender people to officially change names, genders
- Senado sanciona Ley de Identidad de Género en medio de cuestionamientos de la Iglesia
- Bolivia promulga Ley de Identidad de Género
- "En un mes 50 transgénero y transexuales cambiaron su identidad en Bolivia" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Bolivia Approves Progressive Law Recognizing Transgender Rights
- Militares y homosexualidad: los avance y tabus en los otros paises de Latinoamerica
- "Militares gay, entre la discriminación y la clandestinidad en FFAA de Bolivia" (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- "DECRETO SUPREMO Nº 24547".
- Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
- Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology
- Bolivia: 74% rechaza matrimonio gay y 67% se opone al aborto
- "Age of Consent in Latin America", QMaxine, 19 November 2013