SPAIN: Concerns About “Trans Fraud” Emerge After Dozens Of Male Civil Servants In One Small Community Change Their Legal Gender But Maintain Male Names

Concerns about “trans fraud” have emerged after dozens of male civil servants in one small community changed their gender identity reportedly just to get benefits allocated for females. The wave of gender change approvals follows the implementation of the Trans Law, which eased the regulations surrounding legal identity changes.

In the small, autonomous city of Ceuta alone, it has been revealed that 37 male civil servants have changed their legal gender. Of them, the vast majority are associated with the Military, National Police, Civil Guard, or Local Police, and these new “females” have curiously all chosen to retain their male names and continue their lives “as men.”

One of the men has come forward to boast of his success, stating that he changed his legal gender after the Trans Law was implemented in Spain in March of 2023.

Roberto Perdigones, a 35-year-old Army corporal, changed his legal sex to “female” after deciding he identified as an “intersex bigender” person. Perdigones explained that “externally, I am a straight man and internally a lesbian woman.”

Perdigones says he first discovered that changing his registered sex would afford him benefits after reading an update in the National Police Exam syllabus with a list of “possible” gender identities one may have. Perdigones found a gender description he felt he matched, so pursued the change.

“On the outside, I feel like a heterosexual man, but inside I am a lesbian woman, which is what prevails. That’s why I made the legal change to female,” he says. “I did it because I could,” Perdigones admitted to El Español.

Roberto Perdigones.

“Before, I was screwed because I complied with the law. Now, I’m still complying with the law but, after finding my gender situation, I’ve been benefited. And if someone criticizes me, they may be committing a crime of transphobia,” he boasted.

Perdigones filed the paperwork to request a change in his legal sex just one month after the Trans Law came into effect. The new law stipulates that no medical or physical changes are required to apply for a gender or name change, and vastly broadened the protections for “gender identity.” Perdigones only had to ratify that he wanted the change, and officially became a “woman” sometime around August of 2023.

From that moment on, he began to enjoy the benefits: the day he got his new ID card, he showed up at the barracks with earrings, long hair and a beard, now able to disregard dress regulations with no repercussions.

But the benefits are not limited to aesthetic issues, with Perdigones also now qualifying for a mother’s pension as he is a “woman” with a child.

“By changing my sex, as I have been informed, my pension has gone up. Because women receive more in retirement pensions to compensate for the inequality. In addition, I get 15% more because I have a child,” he boasted.

“I even have a private room in the barracks, all to myself, with a private bathroom. Because, being a woman, I can’t be with the men, and I didn’t consider it appropriate to be with the biological women out of respect for them. I’ve had the room to myself since the sex change.”

Perdigones also intends to seek a promotion and will be utilizing the so-called “affirmative action measures” designed to increase female presence in the Armed Forces command. As Perdigones is approaching the mandatory age of retirement for temporary soldiers, obtaining a permanent position would be beneficial for him. Perdigones will be applying as a “woman,” since the physical tests are less demanding and because certain positions are seeking more female representation.

Roberto Perdigones.

Disturbingly, Perdigones also plans to use the law to obtain custody of his estranged teenage son, who he has not seen since he was 3 years old.

“I have a 16-year-old son, from a former relationship. As a father, I hadn’t seen him since he was three years old,” he says. “But now I am no longer a father, now I am a non-gestating mother. This means that I can fight on equal terms with his biological mother. I am in the process of looking for a lawyer to recover what I have lost.”

Perdigones lives in Ceuta, which is a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. It has a population of just 85,000 inhabitants, 4,500 of whom are members of the Security Forces and the military, a much higher percentage than in the rest of the country. Since Spain’s Trans Law was implemented in March of 2023, Ceuta in particular has seen a surge in applications from men employed by police or military seeking legal sex changes.

While in other parts of Spain, judges can deny a change of legal sex when they conclude that the applicant is acting with “spurious intent,” Ceuta is an autonomous region which does not have such regulations. Judges in Ceuta who deny legal sex changes could be charged with criminal prevarication. Many believe the combination of a large military male population and little-to-no repercussions for pursuing a gender change, even just to obtain employment benefits, have resulted in the phenomenon exploding in the small region.

Since the Trans Law came into effect, 5,139 people have requested a change of registered sex in Spain, a quadrupled increase from the 2022 data. Of them, 61.49% of the applicants were men. The latest data has resulted in some trans activists expressing concerns about “trans fraud,” despite these same concerns being dismissed when expressed by women’s rights advocates before the law was passed.

In particular, women expressed concerns about abusive men potentially utilizing the law to obscure their identities or gain access to their victims through the court system. If an abusive father changed his legal gender to “female,” he would be considered just as much of the child’s “mother” as a biological mother in the eyes of the court and would have a stronger case for custody or visitation.

Carola López Moya, an advocate for children with disabilities, pointed out this problem on social media while commenting on Perdigones’ case.

“He says that as a ‘woman’ he is going to try to get his son back, whom he has not seen since he was three years old. Thank goodness the boy is now 16 years old, but I know that this law will be used to facilitate vicarious violence against women,” she said, sarcastically ‘thanking’ the Prime Minister of Spain, under whom the Trans Law came into force.

Over the past year, there have been multiple highly-publicized cases involving men seeking legal gender changes to gain the legal benefits of being a “woman,” or lessen their criminal penalties.

As previously reported by Reduxx, a man in Catalonia who physically abused his partner was able to avoid charges of gender-based violence after changing his legal documents. After police learned he was a legal “woman,” they were unable to charge him with the sex-specific crime or institute special protections for his female partner.

A similar case occurred in Ceuta, where a police officer changed his legal gender to avoid similar charges after beating his wife — but the man was sentenced to prison before his plan could come to fruition.

There have also been a number of incidents involving male inmates declaring transgender identities to either be moved into women’s prisons or seek reductions in their sentences following heinous crimes.

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Nuria Muíña García

Nuria is a news contributor and the head of Spanish translation for Reduxx. Nuria is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls, and seeks to connect feminists across borders. A Spanish native, Nuria currently lives in Switzerland.

Nuria Muíña García
Nuria Muíña García
Nuria is a news contributor and the head of Spanish translation for Reduxx. Nuria is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls, and seeks to connect feminists across borders. A Spanish native, Nuria currently lives in Switzerland.