Vladimir Putin signs law banning gender changes in Russia
Vladimir Putin has signed legislation that bans people from officially or medically changing their gender, representing a further blow to Russia’s embattled LGBTQ+ community.
The act, passed unanimously by both houses of parliament, bans any “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person”, as well as banning changing a person’s gender in official documents or public records. The only exception will be medical intervention to treat congenital anomalies.
It also annuls marriages in which one person has
“changed gender” and bars transgender people from becoming foster or adoptive parents.
The ban is said to stem from the Kremlin’s crusade to protect what it views as the country’s
“traditional values”. Lawmakers say the legislation is to safeguard Russia against
“western anti-family ideology”, with some describing gender transitioning as “pure satanism”.
Russia’s crackdown on LGBTQ+ people started a decade ago when the president first proclaimed a focus on «traditional family values”, supported by the Russian Orthodox church.
In 2013, the Kremlin adopted legislation that banned any public endorsement of
“nontraditional sexual relations” among minors.
In 2020, Putin pushed through constitutional reform that outlawed same-sex marriage and last year he signed a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among adults.
It comes as the Kremlin exerts increased pressure on minority groups and opponents of Putin at home, quashing independent media groups and further stifling free speech as Moscow ramps up a decade-long campaign to promote what it says are
Authorities have already used the existing law to stop gay pride marches and detain gay rights activists.
“When someone changes gender just because the person wakes up in the morning and thinks he is no longer a boy, but a girl. That’s what has to be stopped, because without family, without having children, there’s no future, ” he said.
The bill has rattled the country’s transgender community and has drawn criticism not only from LGBTQ+ rights advocates but from medical personnel as well.
They have warned that the ban will create a black market for hormone substitutes and lead to a spike in attempted suicides among young people unable to access medical care.
The crackdown on LGBTQ+ people started a decade ago when Putin first declared a focus on “traditional family values,” a move ardently supported by the Russian Orthodox Church.