BY Christopher Mangum
October 13 2009 1:10 PM ET
Uruguay’s senate passed a bill on Monday that will allow individuals to receive sex-reassignment surgery and change their name on legal documents to accurately reflect their gender.
"Every person has the right to freely develop their personality in accordance with the proper identity of their gender, independent of their biological, genetic, anatomic... identity," reads the text, reports the Associated Foreign Press.
The amendment restricts the change of sex and name to those over 18 and requires that five years pass before an applicant can request another change.
The bill passed unanimously in the senate and now awaits President Tabaré Vásquez’s signature to become law. The head of the left-wing Uruguayan government, who has put the Latin American country at the forefront of gay rights legislation since assuming office in 2005, is expected to sign the bill.
Earlier this month, Uruguay became the first Latin American nation to allow gay couples to adopt. And despite opposition from religious leaders, the nation’s government also recognizes same-sex civil unions and has opened military schools to gay candidates.