Under a bill passed by lawmakers, children as young as 12 can change their legal gender with a judge’s sign-off
Spain’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a bill allowing anyone over the age of 16 to change their gender on official documents without the approval of a medical professional, a judge or a parent. The legislation requires Senate approval to become law.
If approved, the measure will also allow individuals as young as 12 to legally transition with the authorization of a judge, while only the signature of a parent or guardian will be required for those aged 14 to 16.
The controversial legislation replaces previous regulations, which required anyone seeking to change the listed gender on their ID documents to present a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and proof of receiving hormonal treatment or of living as the target gender for two years, or judicial approval if under 18.
Despite opposition from conservatives, some socialist elements and feminists, the bill passed the Congress of Deputies with 188 votes in favor to 150 against. It will become law once passed by the Senate, which is expected before the end of the year.
Equality Minister Irene Montero praised the legislation for “de-pathologiz[ing]” trans lives, offering up the now-familiar refrain “Trans women are women” to the BBC.
Socialist former deputy PM Carmen Calvo disagreed, arguing that “when gender is asserted over biological sex it does not seem to be a step forward in a progressive direction; it seems to be a step backwards.” Gender, she said, is “neither voluntary nor optional.”
Other critics have warned that male predators could declare themselves women in order to secure transfer to women’s prisons or to compete in women’s sports, an issue which has already surfaced in Scotland, which passed similar legislation on Thursday. The new Scottish law abandons the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria to change one’s legal gender and reduces the amount of time required to have lived as the desired gender from two years to three months.
Spain and Scotland join nine other European countries that already allow residents to self-determine their gender on legal documents, including Portugal, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.
You can share this story on social media: