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  • Writer's pictureWomen Talk Back!

PSOE Feminists: “We expect coherence and commitment from our party”

An attempt to introduce sex self-identification in Spain’s Congress was defeated on 18 May 2021 after the Socialist Party abstained from voting. PSOE governs in coalition with fellow left-wing party Podemos, which sought to introduce the bill the day after the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, after originally intending to introduce it on International Women’s Day. The PSOE was scheduled to vote in favour but backed down on the day the bill was put forward after sustained pressure from feminist groups within their political party. All conservative parties voted against so there were not enough votes and the bill introduction has now stalled.

The following open letter, titled PSOE Must Continue Defending Women’s Rights was published the day before voting, with prominent Spanish feminists and former parliamentarians as original signatories. We publish the English translation of the letter below. The sign reads “Being a woman is not a feeling”.

PSOE Must Continue Defending Women’s Rights

May 17th, 2021

In June 2020, the PSOE made public its position regarding the laws of gender self-determination. In the document entitled “Arguments against theories that deny the reality of women” and signed by José Luis Ábalos (Secretary of Organization), Carmen Calvo (Secretary of Equality), Santos Cerdán (Secretary of Territorial Coordination) and Alfonso Rodríguez Gómez de Celis (Secretary of Institutional Relations) affirmed, without any interpretative drifts, that feeling female or male could not imply a recognition of that identity in legal terms:

“We are against the positions that defend that the feelings, expressions and manifestations of the will of the person automatically grant full legal effects. The so-called “right to self-determination of sex identity” or “right to sex self-determination” lacks legal rationality.”

It was established that sex is a biological reality and that the concept of “gender” could not be defined as a subjective identity to replace sex, since “as socialist feminists, we intend to abolish it in order to achieve the emancipation of women”.

It is structural sex inequality that sustains discrimination, sexist violence and the absence of full recognition of the citizenship of women and girls. The statement denounced the consequences of confusingly manipulating the categories of “sex” and “gender”, and of “sex identity” and “gender identity”, since the manipulation concerned is putting at risk the legal concept and political subject of “women”.

The document ended with a question that continues to show the impossibility of legislating for self-determination or gender identity: “How can the specific expression of a feeling be legally recognized and accredited?” No other document has replaced the position the PSOE held in June 2020.

Therefore, faced with the possibility of accepting the processing or not of a bill that by affirming “gender identity” or “sexual identity” denies the reality of women, we expect coherence and commitment from our political party to maintain and defend the position taken in that document.

The threats or blackmail from transgender interest groups cannot be the criterion that determines the position of the PSOE in today’s vote. To give in to blackmail and to seek impossible intermediate positions is to abandon the defence of equality and to put aside feminist theory and campaigning. It is not “progressive” nor is it left-wing to strike down the rights of women.

As feminists within the PSOE, we are here to say no. We will not move and we will not leave.

Original Signatures:

Amelia Valcárcel Matilde Fernández Laura Seara Sobrado Elena Valenciano Soledad Murillo Juana Serna Rosa Peris Alicia Miyares Ángeles Álvarez Maite Berrocal María Escudero Inma Moraleda Rocío León Araceli Martínez Esteban Lourdes Muñoz Delia Blanco Terán Carmen Martinez Ten Teresa Blat Meritxell Cabezón Arbat Marina Gilabert Carmen Cajide Julia Sevilla María Franquet Verónica Martínez París Pepa Pardo Amalia Alba Tarazona

Feminist within fellow left-wing parties in Spain such as Podemos and Izquierda Unida have published their own statements in defence of sex-based rights and against the proposed self-ID bill. Read the solidarity letter signed by a number of feminist UK organisations repudiating violent threats made against Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo as a result of her signing the above mentioned statement.

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