Spain approves law allowing children aged 16 and over to change their legally registered gender without medical supervision

In Spain, lawmakers have passed a bill that allows people over the age of 16 to change their legally registered gender without any medical or parental supervision.

The measure, which was strongly backed by Spain’s left-wing Podemos party, was approved by 150 votes to 188 in the lower house of parliament on Thursday, meaning anyone over the age of 16 can legally change their registered gender without consulting a doctor. was previously required.

In addition, minors aged 12 and 13 will be able to change their legally registered gender with the permission of a judge, and persons aged 14-16 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to make a gender identity change.

Until now, Hispanics who identify as transgender have needed a diagnosis by several doctors of gender dysphoria, the psychological condition of not feeling a match between one’s biological sex and gender identity. In some cases, they also needed evidence of two years of living as the gender they identified themselves as, and even records of taking hormones.

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A security guard tries to remove a trans flag that was waved in the gallery by activist Mar Cambrolle after the voting session on transgender rights law at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday, December 22, 2022.
(Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Not only was the legislation vehemently opposed by conservatives in the Spanish government, it also caused friction among the left-wing factions of the feminist movement in Spain. The BBC reported.

Equality Minister Irene Montero, a member of the Podemos party, said the law “diseases” people who identify as transgender.

“Trans women are women,” Montero said.

Meanwhile, some members of the coalition government within Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s socialist party opposed the move, fearing it would erode women’s rights.

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Demonstrators hold smoke torches during a protest against possible changes to Spain's 'Trans Law' in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday, December 10, 2022.

Demonstrators hold smoke torches during a protest against possible changes to Spain’s ‘Trans Law’ in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday, December 10, 2022.
(Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“When sex is put forward in place of biological sex, it doesn’t seem to me like a step in a progressive direction, but rather a step back,” said Carmen Calvo, Sanchez’s former deputy prime minister. “The state has to respond to transgender people, but gender is neither voluntary nor voluntary.”

The bill will become law after it passes the Senate, which is expected to be passed by the end of the year.

Also Thursday, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill that would make it easier for people to change their legally recognized gender. The approval makes Scotland the first region in the UK to allow people to declare their gender on documents without needing a medical certificate.

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People are showing signs at a joint board meeting of the Florida Medical Board and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine on November 4, 2022, to create new guidelines to limit gender-affirming care in Florida.

People are showing signs at a joint board meeting of the Florida Medical Board and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine on November 4, 2022, to create new guidelines to limit gender-affirming care in Florida.
(Tribune News Service via Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/Getty Images)

The bill was introduced by the Scottish National Party-led government and allowed people to self-declare, eliminating the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The new rules require everyone applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have lived full-time in their declared identity for three months (six months if aged 16 to 17), rather than the previous two-year period. The bill lowered the minimum eligibility age from 18 to 16.

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The revised law also establishes a three-month “reflection period” during which applicants can change their minds. The Scottish government has yet to decide when it wants the new process to take effect in 2023.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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