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Demonstrators protest outside Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago on September 18

On September 18 conservative activists reportedly protested against the Gender Identity Law outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, chanting slogans against President Sebastian Piñera, who was taking part in a religious ceremony. Although demonstrators scuffled with police, the protest was relatively small. The said law, approved by the Senate on September 4 by 26 votes in favor and 14 against, legislates the possibility of altering gender identity in official documents for those above 14 years old. Conservative groups opposing the law had previously threatened with taking judicial action if minors were granted the option of altering their gender identity. Furthermore, reports indicate that Conservative groups are planning a protest outside Santiago’s Cathedral on October 27.

While surveys indicate that 67% of Chileans support the Gender Identity Law, a large sector of society is apprehensive toward perceived identity politics and left-leaning outlooks on gender equality. In this sense, by supporting the aforementioned law, President Piñera has distanced himself from conservative elements which initially supported his electoral campaign. As the disfranchisement of conservative activists seemingly raises, further protests are likely to take place over the coming weeks, which in turn might trigger counter-demonstrations. If conservative backlash continues to increase, the event planned for October 28 could potentially attract a significant turnout and cause disruptions.

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