Russia has granted initial approval to a proposed bill that seeks to prohibit gender-affirming healthcare for transgender individuals of all ages.
Sponsored by senior politician Pyotr Tolstoy, the bill claims to safeguard Russia’s ‘cultural, family values, and traditions’ while combating the ‘perceived infiltration’ of Western anti-family ideology. Lawmakers also argue that the proposed law would prevent individuals registered as male from changing their gender on official documents to evade military conscription.
The bill will now proceed to Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, where it must undergo three readings before being signed into law. The bill received unanimous approval during its first reading, according to The Times.
This move by Russia reflects similar efforts in various parts of the world, including the United States, where several states seek to restrict or ban gender-affirming care for young people.
The potential law has sparked concern among trans rights activists, as it may overturn the current situation in Russia, where trans individuals can obtain a certificate recognising their gender from a medical commission without mandatory gender-affirming care or surgeries. The proposed law would allow those who have already changed their gender marker on official documents to continue receiving gender-affirming care. Still, it would prohibit those who have not yet changed their gender marker from doing so.
This latest bill follows Russia’s previous expansion of its controversial LGBTQ+ “propaganda” law in November 2022 to encompass all age groups. Initially targeting individuals under 18, the law prohibits promoting LGBTQ+ identities or same-sex relationships in Russian media.
Igor Kochetkov of the Russian LGBTQ+ Network views the bill’s expansion as part of a broader assault on anything the government perceives as “Western and progressive.” YouTuber Gela Gogishvili, who faced arrest and detention along with his partner in April for allegedly violating the “LGBTQ+ propaganda” law, warns that the law effectively silences LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia.
The proposed legislation presents a significant challenge for transgender rights in Russia, prompting concerns about restricting healthcare access and suppressing LGBTQ+ voices in the country.
Last Updated on Jun 18, 2023