Transidentity : Laws and Opposition in the UK and Spain

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Transidentity Laws and Opposition in the UK and Spain

United Kingdom : More than 5,000 applications per year for puberty blockers

The Gender Identity Development Service will close at the end of March 2024. Following an independent investigation, authorities have found that requests have surged, going from 250 per year a decade ago to more than 5,000 now. Using puberty blockers allows a teenager to prevent the onset of facial hair or a teenage girl to stop breast growth. This effectively determines his or her masculine or feminine appearance. These medications limit future treatments or even operations in adulthood to fully live out their transgender identity.

The number of requests from minors has eventually raised concerns, and public health in the United Kingdom (NHS) has decided to change its approach to a less general, more targeted one. “We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical efficacy of anti-puberty hormones to make the treatment systematically available at present,” says the NHS. The dedicated service will disappear, but teenagers currently under treatment will continue to be supported. There are a hundred of them in total. Their protocol will continue in hospitals in Leeds and London.

A conservative wants to ban the prescription of hormones to minors

England is not giving up on puberty blockers, but medical authorities say they want to better regulate their prescription. They believe that the follow-up was not thorough enough so far and that adolescents were not sufficiently supported, especially from a pediatric, neurological, and psychological perspective. A follow-up that will be developed in two new services opening in April 2024 in London and Liverpool. A more targeted, less massive approach is what health services are advocating.

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The Mermaids association, which supports transgender youth, describes the decision as “disappointing.” “This news is a hard blow and will deeply affect our communities,” says the association. On the contrary, in the ranks of the current political majority, this decision is welcomed. This is the case with Liz Truss, the former Conservative Prime Minister. She has drafted a bill currently being discussed in Parliament that would ban the prescription of hormones to minors, as soon as this treatment alters their bodies and questions their sex.

Spain : a sex change procedure at the civil registry expanded to 12-16 year-olds

On February 16, 2023, the “Trans Law” was adopted by Spanish deputies, a historic day for LGBT activists. This text mainly simplifies the procedure for changing sex at the civil registry. Gender self-determination is now possible in Spain, through a simple administrative declaration. From the age of 16, individuals can change their name and gender in the civil registry, without parental consent and without having to provide medical or psychological proof of gender dysphoria, or proof of hormonal treatment.

Furthermore, this law allows for the expansion of gender self-determination to 12-16 year-olds, but under certain conditions. The 12-14 year-olds must obtain the green light from the judiciary, while the 14-16 year-olds only need the consent of their legal guardians. A highly controversial point that caused strong tensions last year within the former coalition government, between Podemos and the Socialists who wanted to modify the text.

The opposition wants to repeal this law; Madrid has already modified it

A year after its implementation, this law still raises a lot of controversy. While LGBT associations and progressive media praise its enactment, on the right, the Trans Law is still heavily criticized. The conservative newspaper El Mundo mentioned on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the “explosion” in the number of sex change cases in Spain: “400% more cases, while Europe is backtracking,” according to the newspaper.

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But that’s not all, the leader of the opposition and the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has already stated several times that he would like to repeal this law, which he finds senseless. “It is much easier to legally change sex than to pass one’s baccalaureate. It is much easier to change sex than to get a driving license, from a legal standpoint. All you have to do is go to the civil registry and submit the idea. Just say: ‘from tomorrow, I am a lady, or from tomorrow, I am a man.’ We will make a trans law. There is a trans collective that has its rights and we will regulate them, of course. But this trans law, no,” says Alberto Núñez Feijóo. The Madrid region, led by the ultra-liberal Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has already taken the lead by modifying the trans and LGBT laws of Madrid in December 2023, provoking the anger of the central government of Pedro Sánchez.

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