Spain advances draft of transgender rights law

Spain advances draft of transgender rights law
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The Spanish government advanced a bill on Tuesday that would allow anyone over the age of 14 to legally change their gender without having to start medically transitioning.

As Reuters reports, the draft of the bill would do away with previous rules that required two years of hormone therapy and a psychological assessment before Spanish residents could change their legal gender. Those aged 14 to 16 would require parental approval before making the legal change.

“This is an historic day after more than 15 years without any legislative progress,” Equality Minister Irene Montero said at a news conference, according to Reuters. "We send a strong message for the protection of LGBTI people.”

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The bill would also ban so-called conversion therapy.

Reuters reports that if approved, this bill would make Spain the largest European country to introduce self-identification.

Some groups have reportedly spoken out against the bill for not going far enough. Saida Garcia, head of the NGO of the same name that supports transgender children, has criticized the bill for excluding children younger than 14.

“It’s not true self-determination if there are age limits,” Garcia said, also taking issue with the absence of an option for nonbinary people.

Meanwhile, around 50 feminist groups also released a collective statement criticizing the bill as encroaching on gender-based protections.

“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,” the Confluencia Feminista federation said.

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In the U.S., many GOP-led state governments have recently moved to pass legislation that limits access to transgender health care for young Americans.

The Department of Justice filed court documents in June arguing that these laws are unconstitutional, specifically violating the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The Justice Department referred to recently passed laws in Arkansas as a "dangerous governmental intrusion."

"Rather than rely on the judgment of medical professionals and evidence-based treatment guidelines, Arkansas has inserted itself within one of the most confidential and personal of relationships: the physician-patient relationship," it wrote.