Trans Law in Spain

Law 4/2023, better known as the ‘trans law’, has become a historic milestone in Spain in terms of recognising the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

For context, the law recognises the will of the person as the only requirement to change sex in the registry from the age of 16, has been definitively approved in Spain.

The law for the real and effective equality of trans people and for the guarantee of the rights of LGBTQ+ people, one of the flagship laws of the Ministry of Equality, depathologises the process of sex change in the registry and introduces several advances for the community.

The main point of the text is the elimination of compulsory hormone treatment and psychological and medical evaluations as requirements for those requesting a sex change in the Civil Registry, which can now be authorised only with the freely expressed will of the applicant if they are over 16 years of age.

The law has the following policies:

  • Gender self-determination for those over 16 years old.
  • In order to change sex in the registry from the age of 16, it will not be obligatory to present medical or psychological reports proving gender dysphoria, nor to be undergoing a process of hormone treatment or having undergone operations to modify one’s appearance.
  • Minors between the ages of 14 and 16 will be able to change their sex at the registry as long as they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians, while between the ages of 12 and 14 they will need judicial authorisation.
  • Children under 12, however, will not be able to change their sex at the registry, but they will be able to change their name on their ID card.
  • The modification of legal sex is carried out in two stages: first a form is filled in requesting the change and, within three months, the person concerned will appear to ratify their decision.
  • Men who change their sex will not escape convictions for gender-based violence, as the legal obligations that any person would have had before changing their sex will be maintained.
  • Conversion therapies are banned
  • Conversion therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation or identity or gender expression are prohibited, irrespective of any consent they or their legal representatives may have given.
  • Motherhood and parenthood
  • Lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people with gestational capacity will be guaranteed access to assisted reproduction techniques and to the practice called ROPA for female couples in which one of them gestate her partner’s fertilised egg.
  • Lesbian and bisexual couples will be able to register their children as their own without the need to be married, as is the case for heterosexual couples.
  • For gay men, adoption is the only option as surrogacy is prohibited in Spain.
  • Intersex persons
  • Genital modification of intersex children under the age of 12, born with variations in sexual characteristics, is prohibited, except in cases where medical indications so require.
  • Genital modification of intersex persons between the ages of 12 and 16 will only be allowed if the minor requests it and if it is considered that he/she is capable of making such a decision due to his/her age and maturity.
  • Measures in the field of education and health
  • Knowledge of and respect for sexual, family and gender diversity will be included in education at all age stages, as well as teacher training in this area.

There will also be promotion of sexual and reproductive education programmes and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

Likewise, in the health sector, the supply of the most commonly used medicines for hormone treatments for transsexual people will be guaranteed.

Infringements for discrimination

An infringement regime is created for acts of discrimination against LGTBIQ+ people, with penalties of up to 150,000 euros for very serious cases in the labour, administrative, health, etc. fields.

Coral Novalvos Delgado, Associate

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