In many areas, Spain has been leading the way in recent years. In particular, advances in the field of morality have often come from Madrid. This was recently the case in the fight against sexual harassment and violence, and with regard to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Spain is also ahead of the game on another development, which concerns the possibility of changing gender without changing sex or sexuality. In other words, the possibility of choosing one’s gender, without seeking to obtain its physical characteristics, or even without necessarily adopting the sexuality usually associated with that gender: declaring oneself to be female, without changing sex, and liking women; or declaring oneself to be male, without changing sex and liking men.

While the possibility of a gender change – meaning the desire to live in a gender other than one’s own (or in a neutral gender) – has recently been opened up in a few countries, such as Canada and France, it generally requires proof of a lasting establishment in the life of this gender. This “lasting establishment” is established by a stable change in the first name used, the way of dressing and the way of presenting oneself in professional and social life.

Acknowledging the difficulty of defining the gender of a first name, or the gender of a way of dressing, or the gender of a social behavior, and the absence of any link between gender and sex, and between gender and sexuality, Spanish law is much more flexible. All you have to do is declare yourself to be one sex or the other. Freely from the age of 18. With the agreement of legal guardians from the age of 14. And even, in certain circumstances, before. Since these laws came into force, the number of such personal changes seems considerable, even if the statistics are vague.

However, little is said in these laws about the more or less irreversible nature of this change: Should the person making the change be warned that he or she can only do so once? Or can we accept that he or she can change his or her mind and do it again whenever and as often as he or she likes? In fact, as time goes by, we’ll see that this is exactly what will happen: nothing will stop everyone from choosing their gender at any given moment. And one day, we’ll even see the possibility of choosing not to choose one.

And we’ll go even further: with the possibility of changing gender at will, we’ll come to think that gender affirmation is of no importance, and that it’s enough to live as we please at all times. As is so often the case, clothing fashions, ahead of their time, are already making this clear. This is part of the slow evolution I’ve already mentioned several times: the future of humankind will no longer be distinguished by gender or sex, but by totally personal and fluid characteristics.

If we look at the harassment young people suffer today when they feel uncomfortable in their assigned gender and/or sex, if we observe what is still considered the norm by the vast majority of humanity, and if we take note of the way in which male domination translates into a clinging to the boundaries of gender, sex and sexuality, criminalizing any crossing of these boundaries, designating these gender changes as signs of the decadence of Western civilization, we might think that we’re a long way from the end of gender.

And yet, many forms of gender have long since been found in very different societies on every continent. The only question is how many martyrs it will take before we come to let everyone live this form of private freedom with benevolence, and even indifference.

Image: Pexels.