News (World)

Spain passes landmark gender recognition law

Supreme Court victory, celebration, reacts
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Spain passed a law on Thursday to allow those over the age of 16 to legally change their gender without medical supervision or a judge’s approval. It removes the previous requirements that applicants provide a doctor’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria and additional proof that they have lived as their gender identity and undergone hormone treatment for the past two years.

The bill requires minors below the age of 14 to still get a judge’s authorization before legally changing their gender. Minors below the age of 16 will still need parental or legal guardian approval before being allowed to change their gender.

The law also bans so-called conversion therapy and makes Spain the first country in Europe to introduce paid menstrual leave (up to five days). It also strikes down a law requiring 16 and 17-year-olds to get parental permission for abortions and removes the current policy requiring a three-day reflection period before an abortion.

Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero reportedly called it “one of the most important laws of this legislature” and “a giant step forward.”

“This law recognizes the right of trans people to self-determine their gender identity, it depathologizes trans people. Trans people are not sick people, they are just people.”

Uge Sangil, leader of Spain’s largest LGBTQ+ organization FELGBTI+, also celebrated the legislation’s passage.

“We’re celebrating the fact this law has passed after eight years of tireless work to obtain rights for the trans community,” Sangil said.

In December, the bill passed the lower house of Parliament in a 188-150 vote.

Thursday’s vote passed 191-60, with 91 abstentions. It has been a contentious journey for the legislation, which has faced intense opposition from anti-trans activists and lawmakers.

A spokesperson for the conservative people’s party, María Jesús Moro, warned that the law was moving trans rights too far forward.

“We all know of other countries that have backtracked on their ‘trans laws’ because they now know that they got ahead of themselves and that that caused a lot of suffering,” Moro said. “Let’s not have the same thing here.”

Conservatives have long worried the bill would give legal cover for trans individuals who wanted to assault cisgender women in bathrooms and other facilities.

But Montero threw water on these worries, saying in November, “No man needs to impersonate women to rape women, to sexually assault women. Trans people do not put us [cis] women at risk.”

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