In the week of Madrid Pride, the Spanish Government has announced that it will be introducing a bill named the “Effective Equality of Trans Persons and for the Guarantee of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual and Intersex Persons,” in order to enhance LGBTI+ rights in Spain as well as establishing “specific measures against all forms of discrimination”.
Announcing the bill, the Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, said that since Spain legalised same sex marriage in 2005, the country has been “at the forefront of the recognition of LGBTI rights” and the new law will will ensure that “the country is once again an international reference in defence of the rights of LGTBI people and particularly transgender people”.
“We hope that this law can be passed as a matter of urgency, because LGTBI+ lives, particularly trans lives, can wait no longer,” she said.
Indeed, Spain is already considered one of the world’s most culturally liberal and LGBT-friendly countries.
In a 2013 Pew Research Center poll of public attitudes in 39 countries, Spain was ranked top.
In 2007, Madrid hosted the annual Europride celebration and in 2017 was chosen for WorldPride where an estimated 2 million visitors descended on the the capital.
Montero explained that the law establishes the right to self-determination of gender identity saying that: “the state recognises trans people’s right to be who they are.”
For the first time the persons under 18 who wish to change their gender identity will be allowed to do so.
This will allow a legal change in people´s names and gender by means of a National Identity Card “double appearance system” whilst the legal process is completed.
Those aged between 14 and 16 years will need parental authorisation and for those aged between 12 and 14 years the procedure can be carried out through voluntary jurisdiction proceedings.
In addition, trans migrants will be able to change the documents issued in Spain if their rights are not guaranteed in their country of origin.
The new measures will ban controversial conversion therapies with penalties of between €10,001 and €150,000.
“LGTBI lives do not need a cure”, said the minister. “What needs a cure is LGTBIphobia, and this can be cured with comprehensive sex education, with education for equality and with education in diversity”.
The bill will prohibit the “discriminatory educational content in textbooks and educational teaching materials” as well as introducing a range of fines of between €200 to €2,000 for insults and discriminatory messages.
Irene Montero stressed that the bill coincided with the objective of Madrid Pride and that the celebrations are the “Pride of the Country”.