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Ley Trans
Cortes Generales
  • Ley para la Igualdad real y efectiva de las personas trans y para la garantía de los derechos LGTBI ('Law for the real and effective equality of trans people and for the protection of LGBTI rights')
Territorial extentSpain
Enacted byCongress of Deputies
Enacted bySenate of Spain
Commenced2 March 2023
Legislative history
First chamber: Congress of Deputies
First reading21 December 2022
Voting summary
  • 188 voted for
  • 150 voted against
Second reading16 February 2023
Voting summary
  • 191 voted for
  • 60 voted against
Passed16 February 2023
Second chamber: Senate of Spain
Passed9 February 2023
Voting summary
  • 144 voted for
  • 108 voted against
Status: In force

The Ley Trans (lit. 'Trans Law') is a 2023 law that permits gender self-identification in Spain. The law allows individuals to change their legal sex, with differing levels of approval required based on their age. People older than 16 years can solicit this change by themselves, while those aged 14 to 16 years may solicit this change only with the approval of their parents. Those aged 12 and 13 may also solicit a legal sex change with judge approval. The law does not allow people to switch to a non-binary gender, which does not exist in Spanish law. However, it does ban efforts to change people's gender expression, sexual orientation or sexual identity through conversion therapy.[1][2]

Countries in Europe allowing gender self-identification


The Andalusian autonomous government passed a gender self-identification (self-ID) law as early as 2014. It was proposed by the Asociación de Transexuales de Andalucía (ATA) Sylvia Rivera. 15 other Spanish autonomous communities passed self-ID laws before the Ley Trans was passed on the national level.[3]

On the national level, the political confederation of Unidas Podemos, En Comú Podem, and En Marea on 23 February 2018 made a legal proposal for a self-ID law in the Spanish lower house, the Congress of Deputies. The proposal, titled Proposición de Ley sobre la protección jurídica de las personas trans y el derecho a la libre determinación de la identidad sexual y expresión de género, was also supported by the Federación Plataforma Trans. It included the rights to

The proposal provided for these rights to be without medical or psychological assessment, and without undergoing medical, surgical or other treatments.[4][5]

Legislative history

70 trans activists and mothers of underage trans people hunger-striking in front of the Congress of Deputies.

Government plans and gridlock

The 2019 coalition agreement of the second government of Pedro Sánchez (Spain's 14th legislature) provided for the introduction of gender self-identification (self-ID). The coalition was formed by a triple alliance of Unidas Podemos, En Comú Podem (which co-sponsored the previous proposal), and Galicia en Común, and the Socialist Workers' Party, which received the most seats of the four parties. In 2020, at the beginning of the legislative period, the Ministry of Equality led by Irene Montero stated that it would develop a self-ID law.[6][7] However, some Socialists such as Carmen Calvo blocked the law.[8]

On 10 March 2021, Mar Cambrollé, president of the Federación Plataforma Trans, led a hunger strike of over 70 trans people and mothers of underage trans people.[9][10] Two days into the strike, the parliamentary groups of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), Más País, Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) and Compromís registered a joint law proposition it would pursue if the government did not advance its trans law proposal at the Council of Ministers on 23 March 2021. This ended the strike.[11][12]

Government draft

On 17 March 2021, the Republican Left of Catalonia, Together for Catalonia, Más País, Coalició Compromís, Canarian Coalition, and Popular Unity Candidacy parties registered the draft, composed by the Federación Plataforma Trans, of what would later become the Ley Trans: the Proposición de Ley para la igualdad real y efectiva de las personas trans.[13]The next day, on 18 March 2021, the draft was refused treatment by a vote with No votes coming from right-wing parties Vox and Partido Popular, and abstention from the Socialist Workers' Party.[14][15][16] This refusal led the Federación Plataforma Trans to renew its call for unblocking the legal process and a boycott of Madrid Pride if no progress could be reached.[17][18] It also led to the exclusion of Carmen Calvo, a member of the Socialist Party who opposed the draft, from the parliamentary negotiations.[19][20]

On 29 June 2021, the Ministry of Equality presented to the Council of Ministers its draft for the Ley Trans. The document allowed for individuals over 16 years old to independently file for a change in legal sex without the need for a psychiatric report, as was required previously.[21]

On 27 June 2022, the bill returned to the Council of Ministers and was approved, thus becoming an official legal project. This was the final, polished version and was more liberal compared to the original draft: gender self-identification was to be possible from 14 years with parental or guardian consent, and freely from 16 years. A gender change from 12 to 14 years of age was to be possible with judicial authorization only.[22]

Equality minister Irene Montero with activists at the final vote in the Congress of Deputies.

Congressional Readings and Senate Approval

The bill was approved at first reading on 21 December 2022, with 188 votes in favor, 150 opposed, and 7 abstentions. The abstentions included Carmen Calvo, and three other Socialist Workers' Party deputies.[23][24][25]

The Spanish upper house, the Senate, debated the law from 20 January 2023.[26] The Socialist Workers' Union reaffirmed its intention not to request modifications to the law.[27][28] The law passed the Senate on 9 February 2023 with 144 Yes votes, 108 No votes, and 2 abstentions.[29]

The Ley Trans passed its final voting phase in the Congress on 16 February 2023. It was made law with 191 votes in favour, 60 against, and 91 abstentions.[30]

Impact and Status

The Ley Trans was the first of its kind to be passed and enacted in the European Union and stands as a controversial issue in the public opinion. Proponents of this law argue that 16 year olds in Spain already have the right to work, be sexually active, and get an abortion if needed. Thus, being able to change one's gender should legally also be possible. The legal changing of gender is also distinct from hormonal therapy or gender-affirming surgical procedures, so in the case of a change in mind, legal gender can be changed again. Others, however, are more skeptical of the law because they believe it rushes individuals into making rash decisions about their gender, leaving them no time to reflect on such an important change in their identity. [31]

Politically, the right-wing Vox party continues to oppose the Ley Trans and seeks its repeal. The Vox July 2023 Electoral Program reinforces opposition to hormonal treatments and sex change surgery for minors and argues the alleged unconstitutionality of the Ley Trans. This opposition puts the ongoing 2023 Spanish government Formation under scrutiny, since some fear a Vox prime minister would roll back laws like Ley Trans.[32][33]


  1. ^ "Así queda la Ley Trans: autodeterminación del género y fin de las terapias de conversión". ElHuffPost. 22 December 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  2. ^ "Las personas no binarias y la tercera casilla en documentos oficiales quedan fuera de la ley trans". ElHuffPost. 16 February 2023. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  3. ^ Trujillo, Noemí López (7 December 2020). "Así regulan ya varias CCAA la autodeterminación de género que propondría la ley trans estatal". Newtral (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  4. ^ "Registrada la primera proposición ley sobre transexualidad". RTVE.es (in Spanish). 23 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  5. ^ Fernández, María (31 January 2018). "Unidos Podemos registrará en febrero la primera ley integral de transexualidad". Diariocrítico.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Ley Trans, crónica de un polvorín político". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 9 December 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  7. ^ Álvarez, Pilar (29 June 2021). "España abre la puerta a la autodeterminación de género tras un duro pulso entre los socios del Gobierno". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  8. ^ ""Un panfleto tránsfobo": críticas al PSOE por un argumentario contra la teoría queer". ElHuffPost (in Spanish). 10 June 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Organizaciones Trans inician una huelga de hambre para que la ley que garantiza sus derechos se tramite en el Congreso". www.europapress.es. Europa Press. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Setenta personas trans se ponen en huelga de hambre para pedir el desbloqueo de la 'ley trans'". www.publico.es. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  11. ^ "Desconvocan la huelga de hambre tras el compromiso de ERC, Más País, CUP y Compromís de registrar la ley trans si no la tramita el Gobierno". www.elsaltodiario.com. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  12. ^ Rodríguez Álvarez, Sabela (12 March 2021). "Más País, ERC, CUP y Compromís registrarán una ley trans más amplia si el Gobierno no lleva la de Igualdad al Consejo de Ministros". infoLibre (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Seis partidos registran una proposición de 'ley trans' en el Congreso ante el bloqueo en el Gobierno". RTVE. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  14. ^ RTVE.es (18 May 2021). "La 'ley trans' no sale adelante tras la abstención del PSOE". RTVE.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  15. ^ "La abstención del PSOE frena la tramitación de la 'ley Trans' en el Congreso". El Independiente (in Spanish). 18 May 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  16. ^ Reguero Ríos, Patricia (18 May 2021). "La abstención del PSOE suma con el PP y Vox para frenar la ley trans en el Congreso". www.elsaltodiario.com. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  17. ^ "Organizaciones trans avisan al PSOE: "Que no aparezca" en el Orgullo LGTBI por no apoyar su ley". El Español (in Spanish). 18 May 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  18. ^ "Organizaciones trans, al PSOE: "Soltad ya la bandera y absteneos de aparecer en el Orgullo"". abc (in Spanish). 19 May 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  19. ^ "La victoria de la líder trans Mar Cambrollé sobre Carmen Calvo: "Le hemos dado al PSOE donde duele"". El Español (in Spanish). 26 June 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  20. ^ Reguero Ríos, Patricia (12 June 2021). "La presión de los colectivos hace rectificar al PSOE: Pedro Sánchez aparta a Calvo de la ley trans". www.elsaltodiario.com. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  21. ^ "The Government of Spain presents the law for the full and effective equality of transgender people and for the guarantee of LGBTI rights". lamoncloa.gob.es. 19 June 2021. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  22. ^ Valdés, Isabel (27 June 2022). "La 'ley trans' sale del Consejo de Ministros sin alterar el punto más discutido sobre la autodeterminación de género". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  23. ^ Valdés, Isabel (22 December 2022). "El Congreso aprueba la 'ley trans' con apoyo del PSOE pero con la abstención de Carmen Calvo". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  24. ^ "El Congreso aprueba la ley trans con la abstención de Carmen Calvo y los votos en contra de PP, Vox y Ciudadanos". www.publico.es. 22 December 2022. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  25. ^ "Mayoría del Congreso avala la ley trans entre aplausos del colectivo LGTBI". elDiario.es (in Spanish). 21 December 2022. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  26. ^ Senado de España. "Iniciativas parlamentarias". www.senado.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  27. ^ EFE, NTM / (26 January 2023). "El PSOE no presentará enmiendas a la ley trans en su tramitación en el Senado". Noticias de Gipuzkoa (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  28. ^ "El PSOE no presentará enmiendas a la 'ley trans' en su tramitación en el Senado". theobjective.com (in Spanish). 26 January 2023. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  29. ^ "Aprobada definitivamente la 'ley trans' que reconoce la autodeterminación de género | Onda Cero Radio". www.ondacero.es (in Spanish). 16 February 2023. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  30. ^ "Aprobada definitivamente la 'ley trans' que reconoce la autodeterminación de género". www.ondacero.es (in Spanish). 16 February 2023. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  31. ^ Gauriat, Valérie (11 April 2023). "Spain's new 'transgender' law breaks new ground on LGBTIQ+ rights". Euronews. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  32. ^ "Spain's king begins a new round of talks in search of a candidate to form government". AP News. 2 October 2023. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  33. ^ García, Horaci (18 July 2023). "Families of Spanish trans youths fear roll-back of rights". Reuters. Retrieved 3 October 2023.