On October 8th, mothers gathered in protest in front of the Congress of Deputies in the Spanish capital of Madrid.
They held up signs reading “They aren’t trans. It’s social contagion,” “More psychology and less surgery,” and “Less hormonisation and more exploration.”
As the Spanish government remains intent on pushing through its ‘Trans Law’ that would allow anyone to legally change their civically registered biological sex through a simple administrative process, parents want to be heard on a topic on which they have been forced to become experts: gender dysphoria.
AMANDA (Agrupación de Madres de Adolescentes y Niñas con Disforia Acelerada), a new association of parents of children suffering gender dysphoria, formed in September 2021 and currently hosting approximately 300 families, has aligned with feminist groups to oppose the bill that would obliterate the meaning of biological sex in civil society to impose gender ideology.
“What will happen to minors under the new Trans Law?” the organisation explained in a statement following the protest. “A law with such important repercussions for the health of children and youth cannot be approved without the voice of the experts being heard in Congress and without the Plenary debate on it.”
“Families need to be heard,” it further stated. “The suffering of our daughters and sons, who are deprived of exploratory therapy for their discomfort, needs to be heard. The pain of those who have stopped treatment and who are detransitioning needs to be heard.”
AMANDA particularly denounces that social contagion has pushed many children and youth, particularly girls, to declare themselves ‘transgender’ without genuinely suffering gender dysphoria. They call the phenomenon Accelerated Gender Dysphoria and fear the ‘Trans Law’ will only increase the incidences.
With the tongue-twisting official title, ‘Law for the real and effective equality of trans people and for the guarantee of the rights of LGTBI people,’ the ‘Trans Law’ started its parliamentary process in June 2022. Earlier in October, the centre-right Partido Popular and the right-wing VOX had attempted to shred the law by proposing a full amendment sending it back to the government, bringing it back to parliament. The move failed as the two parties lacked a majority. AMANDA had also presented a full amendment of the law; that too was rejected.
The law would permit anyone age 16 and over with Spanish citizenship to legally change their sex solely through an administrative process. Minors aged 14 to 16 would need to be accompanied by their parents to request the administrative change, and those from ages 12 to 14 would need the permission of the court. Currently, registering with the state as the opposite sex requires either a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a medical report of having undergone feminizing or masculinizing treatments, or witnesses who testify to the person’s change of gender. The law that’s been proposed is designed to de-pathologize gender dysphoria, normalize gender theory, and the idea that gender and sex can be self-determined, assisted by medical interventions.
The draft law prohibits, “The practice of aversion, conversion, or counterconditioning methods, programs, and therapies, in any form, aimed at modifying the sexual orientation or identity or gender expression of people … even if they have the consent of the interested parties or of their legal representatives.” It includes fines for “insulting a person for their sexual orientation or causing damage to property belonging to the LGTBI community.” Finally, it also mandates education on “sexual diversity” in schools.
The bill still has several parliamentary steps to go through before becoming law, but it is being pushed through as urgent, a parliamentary path that will limit both debate and expert testimony.
On October 8th, AMANDA also participated in an event sponsored by the Madrid College of Physicians (ICOMEM).
At the conference, medical professionals affirmed the concerns of AMANDA, speaking of a sharp increase in recent years in the number of youths claiming to be transgender and requesting feminizing or masculinizing hormones.
“In my unit, there were years when we had a trans adolescent or none,” Celso Arango, director of the Institute of Psychiatry and Mental Health, and head of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service of the Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid, said at the event, as reported by Libertad Digital. “In recent years, 20% of the adolescents we have admitted with serious mental disorders say they are trans, and the vast majority say they have been for a few weeks and days. We have had transitions on the same hospitalisation visit. When they were admitted they had not even thought about it and then, talking to someone who was there, they realised that the solution to their problems was that.”
He also spoke of cases of children with autism who had declared themselves ‘transgender’ in desperation to be accepted by their peers.
Doctors urged, above all, caution in the treatment of youth with gender dysphoria, particularly in the use of medical interventions such as hormone treatment and surgery.
“In the face of transgenderism, we must act with much prudence concerning minors, given the little scientific evidence that exists,” Rafael del Río Villegas, president of the ethics committee of the Madrid College of Doctors, said.
The medical professionals also denounced the ‘Trans Law’ as excluding the possibility of a medical diagnosis, and so undermining the medical basis of surgical or hormonal intervention.
“Since the World Health Organisation says that [gender dysphoria] is not a disorder, they claim that there is no reason to ask the doctors, and I ask them … Who is going to do the intervention? And who is legally responsible? The level of denial reaches the absurd,” Arango said.
In a statement, issued October 11th, the Spanish bishops echoed the concerns of parents and doctors.
They condemned the law as totalitarian since it “contains in its articles really worrying elements of the imposition of queer theory, a theory that radically questions the sexual identity of people, in all areas of personal, family, and social life, arbitrarily establishing and imposing a single anthropological conception.
They added: “During his pontificate, Pope Francis has spoken, on numerous occasions and always in a highly critical tone, of the so-called ‘gender ideology,’ coming to consider it one of the greatest attacks of our days against human dignity and, perhaps, the greatest threat existing against the family. This gender ideology is the foundation of this new law of transsexuality.”
The bishops also reminded Catholics that those struggling with their sexual or gender identity “are beloved children of the Father,” and asked Catholics to “raise their voices and denounce the use of premature and irreversible treatments even more so when we are not sure of the existence of an authentic gender dysphoria,” particularly in the case of minors.