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Opinion

Spain’s move to allow people to change gender by simply swearing an oath shows the woke really are tilting at windmills

Is it really wise for the country’s ruling coalition to be proposing such divisive new laws in the time of Covid, when the economy’s tanking and there are four million out of work? No wonder it’s stoking tensions.

If a draft bill currently being proposed in the Spanish parliament goes ahead, transgender people will be allowed to change their official gender simply by swearing an oath that they are male, female or neither. No wonder the change is being opposed by those politicians who think it’s a step too far.

If the new bill, proposed by Equality Minister Irene Montero, is passed in its current form, anyone over the age of 16 would be able to seek hormone treatment and change their gender simply by swearing an affidavit. No medical check would be required – and no psychological one either. As well as recognizing non-binary people and doing away with the requirement to specify one’s gender on official forms, it would also provide access to assisted-reproductive treatment for transgender people who are able to reproduce.

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In part, the draft bill was driven by criticism by the European Court of Human Rights of an existing Spanish law that requires transgender people to undergo hormone treatment for two years before they’re allowed to change their gender on administrative records. Current thinking in the Equality Ministry likens this process to blackmail and believes that trans people deserve better.

Maybe they do, but not at the expense of everyone else, please. And certainly not at the expense of common sense. Have we really reached a stage in our drive for wokeness that the very serious issue of gender reassignment can be decided on the whim of rebellious and hormone-riven adolescent teens who have little idea what they might want to do for a career, what music or fashion they like, or which football club they support?

Since 2007, Spain has allowed the right of gender self-expression, meaning anyone can alter their name or gender on their national ID, or Documento Nacional de Identidad – the DNI, as it’s known colloquially. For that to happen, the person must supply evidence of ‘gender dysphoria’ – the condition whereby people feel they don’t belong in the sex of their natural birth body.

Equality is one of two portfolios held by the far-left Unidas Podemos alliance in the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. His Socialists hold 120 seats, but rely on the lefties’ 35 seats to govern in a coalition deal that took months to hammer out.

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Montero is an educational psychologist, which likely explains in itself how this draft bill and its radical proposals came about. For now, the proposals remain a draft, but she will likely table them at the cabinet by the middle of this month, setting the stage for an unholy row between the left and more linear-thinking Socialist deputies. Sure, the proposed legislation on gender was agreed during the coalition deal negotiations – but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable for many in Sanchez’s party.

Nor for feminists, who also say the proposed legislation goes too far. The Feminist Convergence Movement, which represents 40 groups, and Against the Elimination of Women, which represents 100, both believe that the historic distinction between sex and gender must be preserved. They say that gender identification undermines the experience of women themselves.

The draft bill would allow much easier access to hormone therapy treatment for minors, allowing doctors to prescribe hormone blockers at the onset of puberty to suppress the natural development of facial hair or breast development. As things stand now, access to hormone-blocking treatment is limited and minors can only access it with parental consent.

The bill would allow minors between the ages of 12 and 16 the right to override their parents’ consent and have a “legal defender,” should a mother or father voice strong objections to their son’s or daughter’s future gender assignment. Surely, if there was ever a case of the nanny state going too far, this clause smacks of that.

The draft law would also allow people to have the right to be referred to as non-binary – a provision the law says would “satisfy the demands of the part of the population who don’t identify as either” male or female, and there would be the right to have official documents altered retrospectively to remove any mention of gender.

The bill would permit transgender people to decide what sex of sports team they should play on, sex verification tests would be banned, and convicted transgender prisoners would have the right to “be treated and separated according to their registered gender” – unless, of course, they believed this would endanger their safety.

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Is any wonder Socialist deputies find the new proposals uncomfortable at best, and, at worst, a sign that psychology has trumped political savvy?

As with everywhere else, Spain is in the grips of a third wave of coronavirus – a pandemic that has hit the Iberian peninsula hard. More than 60,000 Spaniards have succumbed to the disease, and nearly 30,000 of those were in care homes for the elderly.

The pandemic has underscored the fragility of the nation’s public healthcare system. How can deputies reasonably make the case that, instead of investing in more intensive-care units or other pandemic-related medical infrastructure, the government should instead be providing assisted-reproductive treatment for trans people “with the ability to reproduce.” When there’s a shortage of ICU beds, should money really be spent providing those who undergo hormone treatment with the facility to freeze their sperm or eggs?

The bill in its current form will be hard to sell to the nearly four million who are out of work in Spain, as its economy sank 11 percent in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If anything, it shows just how out of touch the loony left are in Spain right now – particularly those like Irene Montero. Like Don – or should that be Donna? – Quixote, she’s tilting at windmills at a time when the rest of the nation is worried about where their next meal will come from. Hasta la vista, baby!

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