Spain may allow free choice in gender identity

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Montero, Equalities Minister who has driven through new law allowing free choice in gender

MADRID: The Spanish Ministry of Emancipation has finalised an amendment that allows trans and non-binary people  choice in gender identity, without a medical certificate. They can choose their gender or no gender indication in identity documents.

This is the not uncontroversial new “Law for the real and effective equality of trans people”, that sparked discussions within the Spanish parliament. The most important change is that everyone from the age of sixteen can decide for themselves under which name and with which gender they are registered with the registry office.

From 16 years the decision may also be made to undergo hormone therapy.

The Ministry of Emancipation has been in talks with the LGBTQ+ community for months to discuss the details. The new law stems from a 2017 initiative by coalition party Unidas Podemos. Last week, Minister Irene Montero and Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo met to discuss the latest developments of the amendment. Montero hopes to discuss the amendment in the upcoming cabinet meeting, but sources around the deputy prime minister have not yet confirmed when the amendment will be considered.

These are the most important changes in the amendment that the newspaper El País had access to:

Free choice in gender identity

Since 2007, the name and gender may be changed on the identity document without actual gender change. This still requires a medical or psychological certification, as well as hormone therapy lasting at least two years. With the new law, an official diagnosis would no longer be necessary. A personal statement from the person in question, aged at least sixteen, would be sufficient. Changing personal data at the registry office is free of charge.

Hormone therapy for minors

The new law allows minors to undergo hormone-inhibiting therapy at the beginning of puberty that slows down the development of secondary sex characteristics. After that, from the age of sixteen, the administration of the sex hormones of the desired sex may be started, without parental consent being required. Currently, the legal regulations still differ according to each autonomous region.

Legal protector

Minors between twelve and sixteen years old who want to change their personal data must be legally represented for this, usually by the parents. If the parents do not want to cooperate, these minors will be assisted by a “legal protector”.

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Right to regulations associated with the new identity

Once the gender data has been adjusted at the registry office, the person concerned has the same rights that generally apply to the new gender.

Recognition of Non-Binary Persons

Persons who do not wish to classify themselves as either the feminine or masculine gender will not be required to indicate a gender in their official registration.

Fertility treatments

Trans persons with “reproductive capacity” must have access to fertility treatments. For example, it must be possible for people receiving hormone treatment to freeze sperm or eggs.

Sport

When practicing a sport or participating in sporting events or competition, trans persons must be classified according to the gender with which they are officially registered. It is prohibited to expose these people to a “gender test”.

Jail

In prison, trans persons have “the right to treatment according to the registered sex”. This may be deviated from if this implies a risk to his or her life or integrity for the person concerned.

Education

In the educational situation, everyone must be able to come forward and act in accordance with the registered gender.

Foreigners

The new law also applies to all foreigners living in Spain.

Work

Trans persons often face difficulties in finding a job. The new law should help them with that. This includes subsidies for employers who hire unemployed trans people.

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