Chile rejects proposed new constitution which would guarantee further LGBTQ+ rights

If it were successful, the Chilean Constitution would have been one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.

Photo of a street protest in Chile to illustrate that Chileans rejected proposed new constitution which would guarantee further LGBTQ+ rights
Image: Daniel M. via Unslapsh

In Chile, more than 60% of voters rejected a new progressive constitution that would guarantee a broad range of social rights, including rights for the LGBTQ+ community in the country.

A draft of the proposed Constitution was made public before the referendum, and it called for gender equality in all institutions, public and private, as well as ensuring respect for diversity. Additionally, the Constitution would promote indigenous self-determination and environment protection, put an end to the highly privatised water rights system, and implement a revamped national healthcare system.

All Chilean provinces, including Santiago, which is known for being more progressive, rejected the document.

The rejected Constitution was in the making since October 2020, when a vote to change Chile’s Constitution was approved by over 78% of voters. This referendum happened after middle-class Chileans protested against high prices and low wages in 2019.

For the first time in the world’s history, the Chilean Constitutional Assembly had full gender parity. Such an achievement can be considered even more impactful when considering that their current Constitution was created during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, accused of being responsible for the torture and deaths of thousands of people.

“Hard result. Much reflection and self-criticism. The Constitution of the Dictatorship does not unite us, neither we were able to build a majority around the proposal that we voted on. The exchange rate cycle is not closed. Citizenship demands social rights and democracy. Answers are urgently needed!” said Emilia Schneider, the country’s first out Trans person elected to the National Congress of Chile.

Furthermore, Fundacion Iguales, an organisation that works towards securing LGBTQ+ rights in Chile, said on Twitter: “Today, the democratic path that Chile set on October 25, 2020, does not end. The lowest floor for our next Constitution is full equality for women and sexual and gender diversity.

“Along with this, the right to diverse families, free development and recognition of personal identity and autonomy, sexual and reproductive rights, and the right to comprehensive sex education must be recognised and protected. This process continues,” Fundacion Iguales added.

Even though Chile has made a significant improvement to its provision of LGBTQ+ rights in the country over the past few years, there is still a long way to go. President, Gabriel Boric, spoke to the public following the vote and affirmed that he will continue to keep “building a new constitutional itinerary alongside congress and civil society”.

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