Spanish politician and trans advocate Carla Antonelli made history on Thursday, August 17 by becoming Spain’s first openly trans senator.
Antonelli, aged 64, was elected as Madrid’s regional parliament’s national senator in July, but was officially sworn into office last week. After being elected to the Spanish Senate, the Socialist Party member pledged to further advance the country’s progressive legislation and advocate for queer rights.
In an interview with Openly, Spain’s first openly trans senator promised: “to protect hard-won progress on LGBTQ+ rights, including the country’s ambitious trans self-ID law, as right-wing parties seek to roll back the community’s gains.”
Acabo de prometer acatar la Constitución “contra los discursos de odio, la LGTBIfóbia y la Transfobia” tras la que he adquirido la condición plena de senadora en las Cortes Generales de España. La primera vez que una mujer trans accede a esta institución, un día grande para la… pic.twitter.com/qfaIkBwiEG
— Carla Antonelli / ?️⚧️☂️ (@CarlaAntonelli) August 17, 2023
Carla was elected as the nation’s first trans regional MP in 2011. At the time, she was already well-known throughout the country because of her acting role in a popular TV series, Ulysses’ Syndrome. Now, she will be able to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights on a national level.
In June 2022, Spain approved a bill allowing trans individuals to change their gender without needing to undergo medical procedures or attend court, but the country held fierce discussions debating the details of the bill with tensions dividing Spain’s left-wing government.
Thanks to elected representatives like Antonelli who advocated for trans rights during these debates, the new self-ID law passed earlier this year. This law allows trans teens aged 16 and older to change their legal gender without needing psychological evaluation or judicial approval. Furthermore, teens aged 14-15 can change their legal gender with parental guardian approval.
Prior to this law, trans people were required to complete multiple medical assessments to gain a gender dysphoria diagnosis. Then, they had to undergo hormone treatment for a minimum of two years before their request to legally change their gender would be considered.
Many parents with trans children are fearful that Spain’s conservative and far-right parties could roll back trans rights in the future. When speaking about the importance of these laws, Antonelli said: “We don’t want anything special. We just want real equality and the right to be happy and die old.”
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