14 Nov, 2023 @ 11:22
1 min read

Thousands turn out in Madrid to reject regional premier Isabel Diaz Ayuso’s plans to roll back LGBTQ+ rights

Ayuso President Of The Community Of Madrid Speaks About Accusations Of The Pp
Madrid, Spain; 17.02.2022.- Isabel Diaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, appears before the press because the leadership of her party, the Popular Party (PP), headed by Pablo Casado, is investigating whether Ayuso favored her brother in a public contract. Photo: Juan Carlos Rojas

THOUSANDS of protestors turned out in Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square to demand that the regional government reverse its plans to reform laws covering LGBTQ+ issues and roll back rights for the collectives. 

The demonstration was held outside the regional government’s headquarters, and was aimed squarely at the Popular Party (PP) premier for Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

Carrying flags and signs reading “Ayuso, my son is not ill nor does he need therapy”, the demonstrators convened under the slogan “Not a single step back”. The protest was backed by more than 30 associations. 

Ayuso’s government is in the process of fast-tracking reforms to two regional laws that offer protection to the LGBTQ+ communities. The move had long been sought by Spain’s far-right Vox party.

The effect of the desired changes will be that trans minors in the region will only be able to begin the transition process after they have been examined by a paediatrician, and will require a favourable medical report to proceed should they have two or more diseases or disorders. Then, they will have to be supported by mental-health professionals during the entire process. 

What’s more, the PP – which counts on a majority in the regional government – is planning to remove the right for free recognition of gender identity, while specific punishment for infractions that violate the rights of trans and intersex people will also be scrapped.  

The new laws being passed by the PP will also affect sports, ‘promoting the participation of transexual people’, according to the text, ‘without undermining the rights of other participants, in particular female sports in all their categories’.

“Because of Ayuso, my son won’t be able to be who he is,” protestor Esmeralda Alvarez told Spanish daily El Pais. “He doesn’t have a mental illness, he is a person trapped in a body that is not his.” 

Opposition parties such as the Socialist Party (PSOE) and leftist Mas Madrid were also in attendance at the demonstration, according to local press reports, and promised to take the issue to the courts if necessary. 

“Madrid is going to become the capital of transphobia and LGBT-phobia,” said Carla Antonelli, Spain’s first trans senator. “Ayuso is going to have the questionable honour of turning Madrid into the first capital city that is going to roll back civil rights.” 

The protestors estimated that there were 15,000 people in attendance, while the central government’s delegation in Madrid cited a more conservative 1,200.

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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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