When we have set up an entire infrastructure that favors people based on things like race and gender, there is an incumbent constituency that will defend the status quo. Perhaps if we just do away with all of that and treat people equally, we would reduce strife.
A new law proposed by the far-left party in Spain’s coalition government would make it easier for residents to change genders for official purposes. A bill sponsored by Equality Minister Irene Montero aims to make gender self-determination — no diagnosis, medical treatment or judge required — the norm, with eligibility starting at age 16. Nearly 20 countries, eight of them in the European Union, already have similar laws.
Factions of the Catholic Church and the far-right have focused their opposition to the bill on the fact that it also would allow children under 16 to bypass parental objections and seek a judge’s assistance in accessing treatment for gender dysphoria, the medical term for the psychological distress that results from a conflict between an individual’s identity and birth-assigned sex.
Less expected has been the fierce resistance from some feminists and from within Spain’s Socialist-led government.
“I’m fundamentally worried by the idea that if gender can be chosen with no more than one’s will or desire, that could put at risk the identity criteria for 47 million Spaniards,” Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, a veteran Socialist and women’s rights advocate, said last week.
Opponents argue that allowing people to choose their gender eventually would lead to “erasing” women from the public sphere: if more Spaniards registered male at birth switch to female, they say, it would skew national statistics and create more competition among women for everything from jobs to sports trophies.