Spain to cut ‘dysphoria’ diagnosis from transgender law

Transgender activist with sign during sign in Valencia 2016 LGBTI pride parade. Photo: EFE via El Diario
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• PSOE presents amendment dropping ‘disorder’ diagnosis, required treatment
• Change lets 16-yr-olds legally change sexual identity without parental consent

Spain’s Congress is set Thursday to remove a controversial requirement in a 2007 law that for a decade has enabled transgender people to legally change their name and gender on government-issued identity documents. While seen as landmark legislation at the time, the 2007 law also required transgender individuals to first agree to being diagnosed with “gender dysphoria”, also known as gender identity disorder (GID), and to undergo two years of medical treatment prior to the identity change becoming legal.

Spain’s ten-year-old gender identity law was introduced and passed in March 2007 by the Socialist party (PSOE) majority in Congress during the administration of then-President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. But opposition from the Catholic church and the its allies in the PP at the time led to insertion of the gender dysphoria qualifier, effectively requiring transgender people to define themselves as having an “illness” and to receive two years of medical counseling for what was considered a stress disorder linked to their not identifying with the sex and gender assigned at birth.

The amendment introduced by the Socialist party in Congress on Tuesday will allow transgender individuals to change their sexual denomination on government-issued identity documents and lowers the age for effecting the legal change without obtaining parental consent from 18 to 16 years. The legislative proposal is set for approval Thursday by a vote of deputies of all parties, except those belonging to the conservative governing Partido Popular (PP), who are expected to abstain rather than vote against the measure.

The passage of the amendment will not influence the movement through Congress of a separate, far-reaching LGBTI law introduced into Congress in September by the Unidos Podemos parliamentary group, however. That legislation is currently faced with staunch opposition from Spain’s Catholic church hierarchy and by the PP parliamentary group in Congress.

► Read More in Spanish at El Diario, Telecinco and Público …

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