Transsexuals in Spain are to be given the right to change their gender documents in civil registries without undergoing a sex change, according to new laws passed by the Spanish government today.

The law is expected to be produced this summer and will allow doctors to certify that a person is living as the wrong sex after they have lived as the appropriate sex for a year and a half and been approved by a psychiatrist.

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said: “Transsexuality, understood as a change in gender identity, is a social reality that requires a legislative response.”

Gay activist, Beatriz Gimeno, welcomed the bill, “It is good that we get up to date with regard to the rights of these people, who are Spanish citizens.”

It follows previous pro gay laws allowing gay marriage in Spain, much to the disappointment of the Catholic Church.

The bill will now go before Parliament.