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Spanish men using self-ID gender law to access female care services


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Spanish feminist organisations have raised the alarm about abuses of the country’s ultra-liberal self-identifying gender law, pointing to cases in which men with a history of abuse are switching gender to access services reserved for female victims of violence.

In a letter sent to Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, 13 feminist organisations point to a report by the Madrid region’s family and social affairs department noting that six men named on the danger list for past episodes of gender violence have switched to become legally women.

According to the regional government report, three of the six have also applied to access care services reserved for female victims of gender violence.

According to Madrid authorities, “in some cases aggressors have tried to attend the care centre where their victims are being attended to”.

“It is important to note… it is feasible for anyone who has resorted to a registered change of sex to make an application to enter a women’s shelter,” the letter says.

Spain’s equality minister, Ana Redondo Garcia, has said that the criminal record of abuses committed by someone as a man cannot be avoided and sentences must be served even if they switch legal gender after the offense.

But, the feminists argue, this does not mean they cannot seek out services and enter spaces reserved for women.

Under Spain’s transgender law, anyone can switch the gender on their ID card and passport by formally requesting the change, without any additional requirements such as a psychological or medical report, as was the case previously.

It is not necessary for the person to change their name.

The letter also alerts the UN rapporteur to the existence of an association of police officers and members of the military who are changing their legal gender in order to access women’s spaces in barracks and other facilities.

In the Spanish territory of Ceuta in North Africa, the first year of the legislation’s application saw 41 people change their gender to become women, the majority of whom were members of the military or security forces who opted to maintain their male names.

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