The Lower House of the Spanish Parliament approved a Transgender Bill allowing individuals over the age of 16 to modify their legal recorded gender without the need for medical supervision on Thursday.
188 lawmakers voted in favor of it, while 150 opposed it. The Senate will now decide whether to approve it. It will become a law in a matter of weeks if it remains unaltered. Left-wing Podemos, which is a member of the coalition government alongside Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist party, has worked to bring about the reform.
A medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which is the feeling that one’s biological sex does not match their gender identity, was formerly required of applicants, as was proof of two years of hormone treatment. Likewise, minors required judicial consent for gender change.
The new bill changes these requirements and makes the change easier. The bill stipulates that children between the ages of 14 and 16 must be supervised by their parents or guardians; and those between the ages of 12 and 13 must receive a judge’s approval. Whereas, anyone over 16 can lawfully change their registered gender without getting medical supervision.
A prohibition on lesbian couples certifying their kids under both parents’ names was also abolished by the bill, along with prohibitions on conversion therapies, penalties, and punishments for assaults against LGBT individuals.
Irene Montero, the Minister of Equality, has vociferously defended gender self-identification and condemned criticism of the law as ‘transphobia’. “Trans women are women,” she stated.
Spain Divided over the Bill
The country’s strong feminist lobby and LGBTQ equality activists engaged in a fierce argument over the law. The legislation has caused problems between Podemos, the main force behind it, and the Socialists who have unsuccessfully attempted to change it since it was accepted by the cabinet in June 2021.
The feminist movement has also been split between those who support Montero and the strong feminist lobby linked with the Socialists who are adamantly against the bill.
Carmen Calvo, Ex-Equality Minister under the Socialists said in opposition of the Transgender Bill that it doesn’t appear to her like a step forward in terms of advancement when gender is claimed above biological sex.
Critics of the Bill also worry that if men who identify as women are allowed to participate in women’s sports or want to be transferred to women’s prisons, the law will be subject to misuse and weakening of women’s rights.
Similar Transgender Bill Passed by Scotland
Scotland became the tenth nation in Europe to adopt such a policy with a vote of 86 in favor and 39 against it. The first country to adopt such a policy was Denmark in 2014.
Before submitting an application to confirm their transition, transgender people in Scotland were required to wait 2 years and have a gender dysphoria diagnosis. With the change implemented on Thursday, minors now have to be 16 years old instead of 18 to request a legal change.
As contrast to the prior requirement of two years, the new guidelines call for anyone asking for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have lived fully in their stated gender for three months, or six months if they are 16 or older.
The Scottish government hasn’t determined exactly when it wants the new procedure about the transgender bill to go into force in 2023.