Trans Activists in Spain Are on Hunger Strike for Self-Identification

They aim to push through legislation that allows trans people to self-identify without a medical diagnosis.
March 11, 2021, 4:57pm
A protester showing a trans pride flag in front of the Congress of Deputies building in Madrid as a group start a hunger strike.
A protester showing a trans pride flag in front of the Congress of Deputies building in Madrid as a group start a hunger strike. Photo: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Trans rights campaigners are staging a hunger strike in Madrid today over a new law in Spain that would grant individuals the ability to self-determine their gender without a doctor’s diagnosis. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, leader of the country’s majority socialist government, has been accused of blocking legislation to allow trans people to declare their own gender without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria – a proposal put forward by the country’s minority left-wing government, United We Can.

According to the Associated Press, Spain’s deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo has criticised the legislation, claiming that allowing self-determination without a medical diagnosis would threaten the rights of cis women. 

On Wednesday, over 70 campaigners collected at the Congress of Deputies building in Madrid to begin the hunger strike and demand that the legislation be enacted. 

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The protesters displayed trans flags, as well as signs that read “huelga de hambre,” translating to “hunger strike”, with a number denoting the days they had gone without food.

Trans rights groups in other European countries have also battled for legislation that allows for self-determination. In 2020, the UK government dismissed a consultation over the Gender Recognition Act that would have made it easier for trans people to self-identify, despite the majority of respondents supporting the proposals.

In a video posted on Twitter, Mar Cambrollé, a member of the activist group Performa Trans, said: “We’re very clear about what we want. Self-determination with conditions on it isn’t self-determination.” 

VICE World News reached out to the Spanish government for comment but had not received a response at the time of publishing.