Transgender bisexual lawyer announces 2018 Russian presidential run

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Bisexual and transgender lawyer Masha Bast says she intends to run for the presidency in Russia in 2018.

Masha Bast, the chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, made the announcement on Facebook.

She and her supporters are hoping to hold the “first real democratic honest and fair elections in Russia.”

If she were elected, Bast would be the first female president of Russia, and the first openly LGBT person to lead the nation.

Bast’s campaign will focus on “human rights and freedoms, justice and social guarantees to everyone.”

In stark contrast to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bast is pro-LGBT, pro-marriage equality, and opposes discrimination “against anyone on any grounds”.

World leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have criticised Mr Putin for his approval of anti-gay censorship laws in Russia.

Bast went public about her gender identity and sexual orientation last week as an act of defiance against the legislation.

In an interview, she told the Moscow Times: “The law banning gay propaganda among minors is completely wrong.

“I remember being 10 and wanting to be a girl and putting on girl’s clothes. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

“This was in the Soviet Union and there was no information to explain what was happening to me.

“I went to dances dressed as a girl back when I looked more feminine. I also started taking hormone pills on my own, but they made me sick, and once an ambulance had to be called for me.

“I had to stop taking the pills, and for five or six years after that I couldn’t take any pills at all.”

She added: “Just imagine all the kids who have no idea what’s happening to them. I never once met a homosexual in my childhood and only learned what a homosexual was when I was 14.

“By then, I had long known that I was a woman and I had been wearing women’s clothes for years.

“So it isn’t a matter of upbringing. It’s nature. That’s why I think the law against ‘homosexual propaganda’ is a law against children and one that targets certain social groups. It is a fascist law and nothing else.”