Spain’s Cabinet approves draft of transgender rights law

MADRID — The Spanish Cabinet on Tuesday passed a draft bill on LGBTQ rights that will seek parliamentary approval to allow transgender people over 16 years old to freely change their gender and name in the official registry without doctors or witnesses intervening in the process.

The proposal could still change during a lengthy parliamentary approval process that begins with the left-wing coalition government’s move on Tuesday. But if the essence of the bill prevails, Spain would join a handful group of countries around the world allowing gender self-determination without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or by imposing physical conformity with one’s gender identity.

It would also make the changes in the official registry faster than in most countries: up to four months from the first application to the change finally appearing in official documents. The process would be easily reversible for half a year, but it would require going to court after that.

The legal proposal has been controversial from the start, pitting against each other transgender rights activists and some feminists who believe that the law blurs the concept of biological sex.

It had also opened an internal battle within the left-wing ruling coalition, with the leading Socialists aligning with the point of view of historical feminist activists and the minor member of the governing alliance, the far-left United We Can party, which strongly pushed for self-determination to prevail.