SPAIN has approved a draft bill on LGBTI rights that will allow transgender people over 14 to change their legal gender without medical diagnosis or hormone therapy.

The cabinet of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez approved the controversial draft bill on Tuesday, a day after World Pride Day.

The draft bill will now go to a public hearing before another reading in the cabinet before being put to the vote in Spain’s Congress.

“This is an historic day after more than 15 years without any legislative progress,” Equality Minister Irene Montero said in a televised news conference.

“We send a strong message for the protection of LGBTI people,” she said.

The bill does set age-limits requiring 14-16 year olds to seek parental approval in order to achieve legal gender recognition and also bans LGBT conversion therapies.

The new law, once ratified, will put Spain at “at the international forefront” in LGBT rights, said Sanchez.

“We recognize the right of everyone to be whoever they want to be,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.

It has provoked fierce controversy in Spain with activists and families of transgender children insisting the draft bill does not go far enough, while some feminist associations oppose it for blurring the concept of biological sex.

A collective of about 50 feminist groups said it opposed the bill. “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,” said the Confluencia Feminista federation in a statement.


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