(Bloomberg) -- Spain’s conservative party leader pledged to abolish a ground breaking self-determination law and shutter or shrink the equality ministry if he wins the premiership in a snap vote next month.
“It is much easier to change sex than to approve a college entry exam or get a driver’s license,” Alberto Nunez Feijoo of the People’s Party told Onda Cero radio on Tuesday, adding that he wants to give more power to parents.
The law — approved late last year by a tight margin in a parliamentary vote divided along ideological lines — made it easier for people over the age of 16 to legally change their gender and banned so-called conversion therapy. In its place, Feijoo said he would introduce a new law to “regulate” trans rights.
Feijoo’s PP is projected to win the July 23 snap election but will likely need to form a coalition with the extreme-right Vox party to oust Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, according to recent polls.
Vox, the country’s third largest political force, has appealed against the law in the country’s top court, arguing it will allow men to use women’s bathrooms and make competitive sports unfair.
Read More: Spain’s Win for Transgender Rights Almost Tore the Country Apart
“These frivolous comments only pile more stigma on the trans community and generates violence against us,” said Carla Antonelli, the first trans person to have ever held a parliamentary seat in Spain. Antonelli quit the Socialist Party over its opposition to part of the law and was elected to the Madrid regional assembly in May as a representative of the left-wing Mas Madrid party.
Hate crimes related to sexual orientation in Spain surged nearly 70% in 2021 compared to 2019, according to the latest data by the Interior Ministry published last year. About a million people in Spain have been discriminated due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, according to one report last month based on a national survey.
The law made Spain one of the more progressive countries for trans people rights in Europe, according to a report by TGEU, an organization that advocates for trans rights across the continent.
Feijoo said the equality ministry, controlled by the far-left group Unidas Podemos, should be a department under another portfolio.
The 61-year-old, who ruled the mostly conservative region of Galicia for over 15 years, also promised to repeal the Democratic Memory Law, which pardons the victims of General Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship sentenced on grounds of political and religious beliefs and sexual orientation.
--With assistance from Laura Millan.
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