2 Mar, 2023 @ 19:45
1 min read

As Spain’s new Trans Law comes into effect, 20-year-old Lucia becomes first person to use it to legally change gender

Trans Community Activists Protest Outside The Congress Of Deputies In Madrid, Spain 18 May 2021
An activist wearing a facemask is seen holding the trans flags during the protest. Activists of the Trans Community protest outside Deputies Congress. The vote for processing of the 'trans state law' is debated this Tuesday 18th May, in the Plenary of the Spanish Congress. (Photo by Guillermo Gutierrez / SOPA Image/Sipa USA) *** Local Caption *** 33412794

ONE OF SPAIN’S most controversial pieces of legislation, the so-called ‘Trans Law’, came into effect today. And in Madrid, 20-year-old Lucia was the first person to use it to legally change her gender on official records. 

It took all of five minutes for her to do so at the central Civil Registry in the Spanish capital, only needing to hand over documents such as her birth certificate and ID card. 

‘They gave me everything straight away, they were very well prepared,’ she told Europa Press afterwards. ‘They must have been studying all night, like I was!’

The Trans Law sparked bitter divisions in the coalition government, as well as in the feminist movement, on its path through parliament. 

Under the new legislation, people can choose their name and legally registered gender without taking any previous steps or needing medical supervision, as was the case previously. 

This applies to anyone aged 16 and over, while for minors there are some conditions. Those aged 12 to 14 will need the blessing of the courts, while 14- to 16-year-olds will need the permission of their parents or legal guardians.

It was this element of the legislation, the age brackets, that caused the biggest rift between the coalition partners, the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos. In fact, it even prompted divisions within the PSOE itself, and was rejected by parts of the feminist movement.

Other points in the trans law include a ban on conversion therapies, even when the person in question consents; access to assisted reproduction on the national health service; and the joint parentage of children born to unmarried lesbian couples. 

Abortion law

The government’s new abortion law also came into force today. That legislation does away with a requirement for women aged 16 and 17 to have parental approval before seeking a termination, as well as scrapping a three-day period of reflection before the procedure can go ahead. 

Another element of the abortion law that has made headlines both at home and abroad is the introduction of up to five days of medical leave for women suffering from painful periods. 

Read more:

Spain’s Socialist Party files amendments to planned ‘Trans Law’, risking delay to bill

Spain approves pioneering transgender bill that puts it at forefront of LGTBI rights

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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