After legalizing gay marriages in 2010, Argentina now welcomes a new gender rights law that gives it citizens the right to undergo sex-change surgery or hormone therapy lawfully.

Lawmakers in the senate sanctioned the Gender Identity law by an overwhelming vote count of 55 to zero, with over a dozen senators declaring themselves absent.

This law is going to enable many of us to have light, to come out of the darkness, to appear, Sen. Osvaldo Lopez of Tierra del Fuego, the only openly gay national lawmaker in Argentina, said. There are many people in our country who also deserve the power to exist.

The law, once signed by President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, an ardent supporter of the law, will facilitate Argentines in getting sex-change surgery done as part of their public or private “Obligatory Medical Plan,” without paying extra for the services, Associated Press reported.

Also, under a gender rights law approved Wednesday, same-sex couples will be able to legally wed and enjoy equal rights as married heterosexual couples in the country.

The new law is a next move in this direction after Argentina became the first Latin American nation to legalize gay marriages two years ago.

Unlike other nations’ jurisdiction, people in Argentina won’t have to go to the court anymore to officially change their name and image along with the gender.

There's a whole set of medical criteria that people have to meet to change their gender in the U.S.,” explained Katrina Karkazis, the author of book “Fixing Sex.”

Karkazis told CBS News that the new law “gives the individual an extraordinary amount of authority for how they want to live.”

“One can change gender legally without having to change your body at all,” she said, adding it is “unheard of and is really incredible.”

Moreover, youth under the age of 18 years, who want to undergo sex change, can do so with the approval of their legal guardians, CBS News reported.

Other countries including Uruguay have also passed the gender rights law. But due to the many advantages that it promises, Argentina, however, remains at the “forefront of the world,” Cesar Cigliutti, the president of Homosexual Community, said.