An Ecuadoran journalist has now legally changed his gender from male to female so that he can attempt to secure full custody of his two young daughters.
On December 30, René Salinas Ramos, 47, announced publicly that he had just legally changed his gender identification to female to circumvent a legal system which, he claimed, unfairly favors the mother in custody cases.
"Being a father in this country, Ecuador, is punished, and I’m only seen as a provider," Ramos stated in Spanish.
"The laws say that the one who has the right is the woman," he added. "As of this moment, I am female. Now I’m also a mom. That’s how I consider myself. I am very sure of my sexuality. What I have sought is to give the love and protection that a mother can give her children."
Ramos claimed that he and his ex-wife, whose name has not been reported, are in the midst of a contentious custody battle for their two girls. Ramos hinted that his ex is physically abusive to the children. He also claimed that he had not seen either girl in at least five months and may not have seen his elder daughter in a year and a half.
The Ecuadorian Gender Identity Law, passed in 2015, allows adults to change their gender identity by "self-declaration," the Post Millennial claimed. Unlike in some states in the U.S., they do not have to show documentation indicating that they have undergone medical treatment, such as so-called gender transition surgery.
While Ramos called the move "great proof of love" for his daughters, some of his fellow countrymen have denounced Ramos for violating what they call "the spirit" of the Gender Identity Law.
"This man’s private matter, to obtain custody of his daughters, isn’t the spirit of the law," said Diane Rodríguez, who is also supposedly Ecuador's first "trans" Assembly member.
The law, according to a statement from the Ecuadorian Federation of LGBTI Organizations, was designed to "protect the common good of a historically discriminated population," namely, "transgender and transsexual people."
But despite complaints from activists, Ramos insisted he would not relent in his pursuit of his children.
"Now that I am a woman, I can be a mother," he said, "and I am on equal footing to fight for the parental authority of my daughters."
"My actions are not against anyone in particular, but against the system which stigmatizes being born male," he added, flashing a new ID which denotes his new female identity. He also indicated that he will continue to fight for the rights of fathers in general.