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Tipsheet

These Two Countries Just Made It Easier for Residents to Legally Change Their Gender

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

Lawmakers in Spain and Scotland have passed bills that allow residents over a certain age to change their registered gender to match their gender identity without any medical supervision.

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In Spain, the lower house of Parliament passed a law on Thursday that allows citizens over 16 years old to change their legally registered gender. Under the new law, minors 12 and 13 years old will need a judge to authorize this kind of change. Teenagers who are 14 to 16 years old will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, according to ABC News.

Previously, people in Spain who identified as transgender needed to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria by “several” doctors, ABC added. In some cases, they needed to provide proof that they had been living as their gender identity and had undergone hormone therapy in order to change their legally registered gender. 

BBC noted that the bill was pursued by the country’s far-left party and has divided feminists, as many have stated it could “erode women’s rights.”

Also on Thursday, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill that allows residents to declare their gender on documents without the need for medical certification. This bill removed the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria (via ABC):

The new rules require anyone applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate to have lived full-time in their declared identity for three months – six months if they are ages 16-17 – as opposed to the previous period of two years. The bill lowered the minimum eligibility age from 18 to 16.

The revised law also establishes a three-month “reflection period,” during which applicants can change their minds. The Scottish government has not yet decided when in 2023 it wants the new process to take effect.

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Reportedly, more than a dozen other countries have passed similar legislation. But, last week, the Swiss government rejected the idea of introducing a third gender option or no gender option for its residents on official records. 

“The social preconditions for the introduction of a third gender or for a general waiver of the gender entry in the civil registry currently are not there,” the country’s Federal Council wrote in response to the proposals from parliament, according to the Associated Press. “The binary gender model is still strongly anchored in Swiss society.”

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