Trans men and women in Uruguay will soon be permitted to legally change their name and gender under a new bill passed by the government.

It will come into force once it is signed by president Tabare Vasquez and means that trans people will be able to change their name and gender on all legal documents, such as passports and birth certificates.

The Roman Catholic Church and opposition conservatives argued that the change in law could allow gay people to marry.

However, an amendment was inserted so that documents would be changed and archived, rather than the originals destroyed.

Only those over the age of 18 can legally change their name and gender, while people must wait five years before being permitted another change.

Uruguay has seen a number of LGBT rights victories this year.

In September, it became the first Latin American country to allow gay adoption.

In May, the country lifted a ban on gays serving in its military.

The ban was imposed under the 1973-85 military dictatorship. Under it, people with “open sexual deviations”, which includes homosexuality, were banned from entering the military academies.

Legislation to recognise civil unions was passed in December 2007.