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Spain passes law making it easier to legally change gender

Spain’s parliament has given final approval to new legislation allowing people over 16 to update their national identity card without psychological or medical evaluation.

In a move being hailed as a ‘historic day for human rights,’ Spain has become one of the first countries in Europe to allow anyone over 16-years-old to change their legally registered gender without the need for psychological or medical evaluation.

It follows in the footsteps of Denmark, which in 2014 granted transgender people the right to gender self-determination via a single statement.

Up until this point, young people have been required to provide a diagnosis from doctors specialising in gender dysphoria, as well as proof they have undergone hormone treatment for at least two years.

Passed with 191 votes in favour and 60 against – the final step in an extensive debate – the so-called ‘transgender law’ means that teenagers can now request to update their national identity card based on a simple declaration. They must reconfirm that demand three months later before it is made valid.

Victory in Fight for Gender Recognition in Spain | Human Rights Watch

From the age of 12, minors will require a judge’s permission to do the same, while those aged between 14 and 16 will need the consent of their parents or guardians to get the green light from the court.

‘After wasting time in a long battle fomented by conservative religious groups and political parties who oppose the rights of the LGBT+ community, entrenched in ideological positions that recognise women as the only subject of feminism, today Spain has chosen to respond to the social change that the country and international organisations have been calling for for years,’ says Dr Michela Mariotto, an expert on gender variance in childhood.

‘I am very pleased not just for trans people but for democracy. This law ends intolerance in this country over someone’s wish to change their gender.’

The new legislation, which was just approved by Spain’s parliament despite protests from feminist groups, warnings from opposition parties, and amid tensions amongst different branches of the Socialist-led coalition government, will also ban conversion therapy, introduce paid menstrual leave, and ease abortion limits.

Trans law: Spain takes 'giant step' towards gender self-identification | Spain | EL PAÍS English Edition

Not only will it end public subsidies for groups that ‘incite or promote LGBTQIphobia’ and let women who have incapacitating periods take time off, but it will do away with a 2015 measure introduced by the conservative People’s party (PP) requiring women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent for abortions.

It also scraps the current three-day period of reflection for those seeking a termination and aims to make it far easier for women to access abortion in public hospitals and clinics.

‘This is a law that recognises trans people’s right to freely decide their gender identity,’ said Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero in her speech thanking the country’s LGBTQ+ community and trans collectives for helping to get the law passed – and for ‘saving many lives’ in the absence of government intervention.

‘It stops trans realities being treated as abnormalities. Trans people aren’t sick people; they’re people – full stop. They are who they are – full stop. Trans women are women – full stop. From today, the state recognises that.’