The Spanish Council of Ministers has approved legislation that would allow people to change their gender on official documents without seeing a doctor for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
The legislation, which must now pass to advisory bodies before being presented for a vote in the Spanish parliament, would allow people over the age of 16 unrestricted ability to change their gender on official documents simply by requesting it and reaffirming their decision after three months.
Under a current law enacted in 2007, transgender people need a report from a doctor that shows a diagnosis of gender dysphoria as well as having undergone two years of hormone therapy, El Diario reports.
Irene Montero, Spain’s Minister of Equality, called the new proposed legislation “a giant step in LGTBI rights and particularly the rights of trans people” and claimed that it was also a “feminist” law.
Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo highlighted that the three-month confirmation of the gender change “marks the stability in the decision” of the individuals undergoing the process.
The text allows individuals as young as 12 to change their gender with judicial authorisation. Those 14 to 16 can change gender with the consent of legal guardians or parents, and those over 16 have no restrictions.
"Society at large is not always adapted to the reality of transgender people and this is part of changing this, by making athletics as accessible as possible for everyone. We want everyone, based on their gender identity, to be able to participate" https://t.co/bJQW6yoS5h
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 13, 2021
The bill, which also seeks to ban conversion therapy, has been criticised by some groups, including the feminist association Confluencia Feminista federation, which stated: “These legal reforms are regressive and it is essential to stop them in order not to lose the protection of the specific rights against gender-based oppression.”
Populist Spanish political party VOX said of the bill: “The Trans Law is a serious attack against the equality of Spaniards and the guardianship of parents. If approved, we will repeal it.”
The Spanish legislation comes at the same time as a similar LGBT rights bill is under debate in Italy. The Zan bill, named after Democratic Party politician and LGBT rights activist Allessandro Zan, has stirred controversy among politicians and the Roman Catholic Church.
Last week, the Vatican expressed opposition to aspects of the bill, stating that it was concerned it could criminalise Catholics who were critical of gay marriage or other LGBT issues and went as far as stating it could violate the 1929 Lateran treaty that guarantees Vatican City independence.
Spain is not the first country to propose allowing people to change their gender on official documents without a doctor’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Denmark has allowed the practice since 2014, and other countries, such as Sweden, Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and Belgium, also allow a gender change by simple declaration.