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(LifeSiteNews) — The Spanish Parliament has passed a bill that allows teenagers to legally “change their sex.” 

The controversial law will allow anyone who is 16 or older to change the sex on his or her ID card. In some cases, the bill even applies to children as young as 12. 

The legislation was passed on December 22 in a 188-150 vote and will now have to go through the Senate to be approved, according to a BBC report 

The left-wing Podemos party, which is part of Spain’s government coalition, was the driving force behind the transgender bill. The Podemos party’s Equality Minister, Irene Montero, said that the legislation “de-pathologizes gender-confused persons and guarantees their “rights.” 

Montero claimed that [t]rans women are women,” and accused critics of the law of “transphobia”. 

Up to now, applicants for a change of legal sex needed to be medically diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” and provide proof of hormone treatment for at least two years. Minors also required judicial approval to apply for a change of legal sex.

The new law has been widely criticized, not only by Christians and conservatives but also by some parts of the feminist movement in Spain. 

“When gender is asserted over biological sex, it does not seem to me to be a step forward in a progressive direction; it seems to be a step backwards,” Carmen Calvo, former deputy prime minister of the Socialist party said, adding that “The state has to provide answers for transgender people, but gender is neither voluntary nor optional. 

READ: Germany proposes new law to allow 14-year-olds to ‘change gender’ without parental consent

Critics of the new law have said that it could threaten the safety of women when it allows biological men who identify as women to request transfers to women’s prisons or participate in women’s sports. 

Spain is not the only European country that introduced a gender “self-identification” law this year. Other countries have already adopted similar laws that allow for legal “sex changes,” even for minors, including Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, and Scotland. 

The push for transgender laws by left-wing politicians and LGBT activists continues despite the fact of the growing number of “de-transitioners” who regret having hormone interventions and surgeries that cause irreversible damage to their bodies and minds. 

READ: Heartbreaking detransition story describes ‘trauma’ caused by gender confusion