Spanish trans activists start hunger strike

From midnight tonight six trans* activists In Andalusia, Spain will start a permanent hunger strike until either the bill for better trans legislation that is stuck, will be really introduced in Parliament or until they die.

The presidents of Autonomía Trans/Conjuntos Difusos (Trans Autonomy/Fuzzy Sets) and ATA Sylvia Rivera plus several other trans* activists in Andalusia prepare to start a permanent hunger strike from midnight tonight. They demand that the trans* rights bill that still has not been introduced in Andalusian Parliament by Izquierda Unida (United Left) and PSOE (Spanish socialist party) since the last discussion in February will now really be put on the agenda. The bill was first presented more than a year ago.

On the national level Spain has a gender recognition law since 2007. For that law to pass through parliament a hunger strike by trans* leaders was needed too. The national law requires psychiatric diagnosis of gender identity disorder (or gender dysphoria according to the most recent DSM edition). Although not in the law, also two years of hormone treatment are required to prove sterilization. Spain has no national protection on the basis of gender identity or gender expression which leaves trans* people with high levels of discrimination and worse life expectations than other, protected groups. For this reason ATA and Autonomia Trans work together with political parties IU and PSOE to have an integral law for the Andalusian region that makes up for the shortcomings of the national law.

The law would give legal guarantees that trans* people, who have a social identity different from the one assigned at birth, will be treated on equal footing with other citizens. Social, medical, legal, education or work needs must be addressed without discrimination. This also applies to health care where no special treatment will be accepted. Nor will unnecessary age restrictions be accepted: trans* minors have the right to medical assistance for their gender issues just as others and should be able to get transition facilitating treatment when they ask for it, from the moment they are able to decide on this.

The three main demands from ATA Sylvia Rivera and Autonomía Trans/Conjuntos Difusos:

  • Acknowledgment of the fundamental right of the self-determination of gender. Only the word of the person themself counts.
  • Access to decentralized psychological, endocrinological and surgical health care without discrimination based on gender identity, based on the principles of autonomy and responsibility with informed consent from the legally capable individual.
  • Equal rights for trans youth, specifically of recognition of their gender identity in education and relevant health care

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