Gender self-determination and the depathologisation of transsexuality

At the end of December 2022, the Spanish Congress of Deputies passed a law of historical importance, that took a big step forwards regarding civil rights. The so-called ‘Ley Trans’ law includes two important policies: gender self-determination and the depathologisation of transsexuality.

More specifically, the law, which awaits the Senate’s approval, will, amongst other things, allow individuals aged 16 or over (minimum age 14 with parental consent) to proceed with gender rectification in the absence of, until now, necessary judicial authorisation, and without it being conditional on prior medical or psychological examinations that ascertain the presence, in the applicant, of a perception of gender that is different from their birth sex.

Unfortunately, this progressive action has been thwarted by the English Parliament blocking an approved Scottish policy (Gender Recognition Reform Bill) that would’ve simplified the procedure for sex rectification. However, Nicola Sturgeon; Scotland’s First Minister has announced that the Scottish Government will legally oppose the blocking action in defence of the bill, in order to overcome the current complex and invasive gender determination process.

In the imbalanced European landscape, one thing remains evident: in (some) liberal democracies the rights of trans people are evolving, moving closer to civil dignity.

Maria Cecilia Castellazzi, Trainee Lawyer