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Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina has become the first Latin American country to formally recognize gender nonbinary people.

Why it matters: The move paves the way in a region with few protections for trans and nonbinary people.

Details: Nonbinary people can now mark their gender as an X on national identity and passport documents.

  • The X will denote: "non-binary, undetermined, unspecified, undefined, not informed, self-perceived, not recorded; or another meaning with which the person who does not feel included in the masculine/feminine binary could identify," according to the decree.

What they're saying: "There are identities that always existed, but were hidden. We must respect them because when we deny them, we deprive many people of the possibility of being happy," President Alberto Fernández tweeted.

"I am so happy with this new document," Shanik Lucian Sosa Battisti told the Times a day after receiving it. "It gives me peace of mind to present my document with my real name."

Yes, but: One person who got the new document this week wore a T-shirt that read, "We are not 'X,'" per the Times.

  • Fernández has noted that the marker is not an ideal solution and that he hopes gender-neutral terms will be used universally in the future.

The big picture: Despite gains in the last decade, Latin America has the highest concentration of trans murders in the world, activists say. The LGBTQ community and human rights groups have called on governments to expand LGBTQ rights.

  • Argentina joins other countries, including but not limited to New Zealand, Canada and Australia, in officially offering a nonbinary gender option in identity documents.

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden admin releases first national strategy to promote gender equality

President Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House in August 2021. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday released a 42-page plan to promote gender equality at home and abroad — the first national strategy of its kind.

Why it matters: Women in the U.S. and around the world dealt with an unequal playing field before the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated many of the issues they face, potentially reversing years of progress.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.