In accordance with the new law, anyone over the age of 16 will be able to legally change their gender without parental approval as well. Previously, people who identified as transgender would need a formal diagnosis from several doctors of gender dysphoria before changing gender markers. According to an expert in the field, these new policies can lead to "unexpected consequences."
"That's pretty young," said Dr. Erica Anderson, a transgender clinical psychologist with a practice in Berkeley, California, to the outlet.
Anderson has served on the board of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), and has four decades of clinical experience.
"I'm concerned that many young people are sort of caught up in the excitement about sexual and gender minority labels and might be adopting ideas about themselves that may not last," the psychologist continued, before sharing fears about young people potentially using "such labels to make decisions for themselves."
The new law, which passed the Spanish parliament on February 16, also now permits 16- and 17-year-olds to undergo an abortion without parental consent, reports NPR.
Anderson likened the legislation to a similar bill in Scotland that the UK parliament blocked last month, which would've also allowed transgender-identifying people to change their legal gender without a medical diagnosis, according to CNN. The age limit would've also been lowered to 16.
"I think Spain is trying to be progressive and remove barriers for gender-variant people," Anderson continued, adding that the new age limit is too low.
"I haven't talked to anybody in Spain, so I don't know what their expectation is, whether this is going to be very easy to implement and there won't be any controversies," Anderson said. "But I'd be very surprised if it didn't cause some other challenges that maybe they haven't contemplated."
Anderson has been outspoken against the gender transitions of children in multiple other instances. Earlier this month, Anderson was called as an expert witness for the Wisconsin parents suing their daughter's school district after the girl's middle school allowed her to adopt a male name and pronouns without their knowledge.
In November, Anderson also filed an amicus brief against Montgomery County Public Schools, the progressive Maryland school district, over its policy that tells teachers to hide a student's gender identity from their parents, reported WJLA.
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