Spain and Scotland pass groundbreaking transgender rights laws

Both countries now allow people aged 16 and older to change their legal gender status without requiring medical documentation.

A trans flag being waved as Spain and Scotland pass new laws.
Image: Twitter @JaumedUrgell

On Thursday, December 22, both Scotland and Spain passed historic transgender rights bills that allow people aged 16 and older to legally change their gender on their national identity cards.

Spain’s lower house of Parliament passed their new transgender rights bill with 188 votes in favour, 150 against, and seven abstentions, while the Scottish Parliament passed the proposals by 86 to 39.

Prior to these bills, trans people were required to provide medical reports with a gender dysphoria diagnosis and submit proof of hormonal treatment before they were able to update their gender IDs.

The new legislation allows anyone over the age of 16 to change their gender on their ID card by completing a simple declaration form, but both countries endured debates from those in opposition to the bills.

Spain

Spain initially approved the bill which allows people to apply to change their gender-related information without needing to undergo medical procedures or attend court earlier this year, but the country held fierce discussions for months around the details of the bill with tensions dividing Spain’s left-wing government.

Despite some opposition, the bill passed including the change that allows children aged as young as 12 to change their gender identity with judicial approval. It also requires schools to use their chosen name rather than their registered name.

The transgender rights bill is one of the flagship projects of the equality ministry. Recognising the step forward for trans rights, Equality Minister Irene Montero who has long supported gender-affirming care said, “Today the feminist majority in this House responds to transphobia.”

Debates among the Socialist party ultimately prompted LGBTQ+ activist, Carla Antonelli to resign from the party over the disagreements. Antonelli is the first and only trans woman to have ever served as a Spanish politician.

Scotland

In Scotland, not only was the age limit for applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate reduced from 18 to 16, applicants will now also only need to have identified as their preferred gender for three months, rather than the two years previously required.

Before proposing the final version of the bill to parliament, Shona Robison, social justice minister, said, like equal marriage and civil partnership legislation before it, “this is an important step to creating a more equal Scotland.”

After passing the first stage on Thursday, the bill in Spain will move to the Senate and could become law within a few weeks, while the new law in Scotland is likely to pass in early 2023.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.