Puerto Rico OKs T* Birth Certificate
July 28, 2000
Transwoman Alexandra Torres Andino won a 4 - 3 split decision from Puerto Ricos
Supreme Court in mid-July allowing her to change the gender on her birth certificate in
whats believed to be the first case of its kind there, the Orlando Sentinel
reported. Torres Andino, 50, underwent sex reassignment in 1976 and began her quest in the
courts in 1995. At first she was allowed only to change her name, but after six years of
appeals she can now move the checkmark from the "M" box to the "F."
The majority of the court was sympathetic to the invasion of privacy Torres Andino
experienced in identifying herself for jobs and passport renewals, and Justice Antonio
Negron Garcia wrote for the majority that transsexuality is "an evident reality that
demands a legal solution." Dissenting Justice Francisco Rebollo Lopez wrote,
"This turns Andres Andino into a woman for all legal purposes, being able to get
married as a woman, since the marriage certificate would establish that in an official
manner" and that was exactly the dissenters objection, since they view
Torres Andinos marriage to a man as a violation of Puerto Ricos marriage and
sodomy laws. In fact Torres Andino is married, now living in New Jersey.
The American Civil Liberties Union is already fighting a separate and so far
unsuccessful legal battle to have the sodomy law struck down, and believes the Supreme
Courts recognition of Torres Andinos privacy rights bodes well. But the larger
society is just as divided as the court, as gay and lesbian groups like San Juans
Human Rights Foundation welcome the ruling for Torres Andino and conservative groups like
Pro-Life of Puerto Rico denounce it. The government may ask the court to reconsider.
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