Spanish psychology experts oppose controversial trans law

20-10-2022

Southern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Photo Irene Montero, Twitter

Leading mental health experts in Spain express their worries about an incoming transgender law. According to them, there is no scientific basis for removing barriers to changing gender. "There is an avalanche of young people with disorders who see transgenderness as a magic solution."

It really worries Spanish mental health professionals. The new Transgender law is currently being discussed in the Congress of Deputies, the Spanish lower house. If this legislation is passed, people can change their gender without needing an expert opinion. Minors from the age of 12 can request gender reassignment as well, and those above 16 do not require consent from a third party. This reports Actualidad Evangélica

In September, the Spanish government decided to bring the deadlines for the new transgender law forward. Critics said that critical in-depth debate on the issue is thus avoided. However, several major mental health organisations, including the Spanish Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health and the Spanish Association of Childhood Psychiatry and Adolescence, among others, came forward to the Spanish daily El Mundo to express their concern about the initiative of the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero.

In the article, the main scientific authorities of the country declare that no one from the government has consulted them. Furthermore, they express their "deep concern" for the "suffering this can cause in minors with disorders". According to them, the "ideologisation" around the subject is "preventing a debate that must accept scientific criteria.

Fashionable

Luisa Lázaro is head of Child and Youth Psychiatry at one of the main hospitals in Barcelona. According to her, the increase in adolescents claiming to be transgender has been "exponential in recent years". Lázaro thinks there is an underlying problem: "We are in a society where wishes become rights." Celso Arango, head of Psychiatry in a Madrid hospital, also sees an exponential growth in adolescents believing they are transgender. "They come to us constantly. It is fashionable among them to believe that they can decide their sexuality. But nature is what it is."

According to these experts, the increasing demand for transition is a global phenomenon that originated in the United States. It is mainly females who want to transition to the male gender.

Victor Pérez, president of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry, thinks most adolescents who want a transition have disorders. "In reality, minors who express discomfort with their gender usually do so from the age of four or five, not in adolescence. For them, it is scientifically proven that hormone therapy, and in some cases surgery, benefits them. But doing this with adolescents without more criteria than their will is barbaric. We believe this does not respond to a real need."

Suffering

According to the health officials, the Spanish government has not consulted them about the law proposal. "Those who promote this law are not interested in our opinions", says Victor Pérez. He compares the law with the current euthanasia law. To qualify for euthanasia, people need to undergo a psychological assessment. That should also be the case for transition requests, Pérez believes. "Psychiatrists do not want to control, but we do want to avoid harm and suffering. It is our obligation."

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