Trans activists go on hunger strike until delayed gender recognition law is passed

Spanish activists use hunger strike to push for new transgender law

Seventy trans rights campaigners in Spain are on their third day of a hunger strike against delays to a new law that would allow citizens to get legal recognition of their gender without being forced to get a medical diagnosis.

Hundreds of trans people and their allies gathered at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on Wednesday (10 March), announcing their intention to go on hunger strike until the new law is submitted.

“They are not going to put locks on freedom,” Mar Cambrollé, from Plataforma Trans, told ABC News. “We’re very clear about what we want. Self-determination with conditions on it isn’t self-determination.”

Countries including Ireland, Malta, Iceland, Norway, Argentina, Portugal and Belgium have gender-recognition laws that permit trans people to self-declare their gender without being forced to obtain a doctor’s diagnosis.

Not a single incident has been reported as a result of the legislative changes in these countries, contrary to claims from anti-trans campaigners that introducing gender self-declaration undermines women’s rights.

Flying trans Pride flags and carrying banners reading “huelga de hambre”, which translates to “hunger strike”, the protestors in Madrid have been chanting “trans law now” and show no signs of backing down.

Cambrollé tweeted yesterday: “We continue in the fight and we will use all our body’s energy as a force for resistance. As we have always done! Until the end! Until we see the trans law go to congress!”

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s ruling socialist party has been accused of blocking the new trans rights law, which was put forward by far-left minority coalition partner United We Can.

Deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo has said that permitting legal gender recognition without requiring a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and medical intervention would undermine women’s rights – the same false argument, which has no evidence base, used by anti-trans campaigners against reforming gender recognition laws in other countries including the UK.

But Isabel Franco, journalist and political secretary of the Andalusian branch of the left-wing, anti-austerity Podemos party, is one of many who have tweeted in support of the trans campaigners on hunger strike.

“Today we have been supporting trans people who start a #HuelgadeHambreTrans,” Franco said.

“Personality and, therefore, free self-determination must be a fundamental right. And that is the commitment of the Ministry of Equality and of our parliamentary group. There will be #LeyTrans.”

LGBT+ activists have been sharing photos of the protestors using the hashtag #HuelgaDeHambreTrans.