By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño
MADRID -The Spanish government on Tuesday approved a first draft of a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 14 to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy, a government source said.
The draft bill, which will go to a public hearing before a second reading in the cabinet and ultimately a vote in the lower house, removes the requirement for two years of hormone therapy and a psychological assessment for people to switch gender in official records.
The “self-ID” draft bill sets age limits, with 14- to 16-year-olds needing parental approval, following parliament’s rejection in May of a proposal from a group of political parties to give children total freedom to legal gender recognition.
Activists and families of transgender children say the law does not go far enough, while some feminist associations oppose it, saying it would undermine women.
It puts Spain at the centre of Europe’s debate about the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, with European Union leaders last week confronting Hungary’s prime minister over its new anti-LGBT law.
With the draft bill, which also bans LGBT conversion therapies, Spain is set to join two dozen countries aiming to decouple gender choice from medical procedures and would become the largest European economy to introduce self-ID.