Russian LGBT group school Putin for calling trans people ‘transformers’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sent educational brochures about LGBT+ people after he called transgender people “transformers” when responding to Elton John’s criticism of Russia’s LGBT+ rights record.

Putin made his gaffe at the recent G20 summit.

“They’ve thought up six or five genders – transformers, trans… I don’t even understand what it is myself,” he said at a press conference at the summit.

“They need to stop violently imposing their point of view on others,” Putin said.

Russia’s leading LGBT+ advocacy group, the Russian LGBT Network, sent a package to Putin’s party offices, United Russia, containing brochures with information on working with LGBT+ people.

Svetlana Zakharova, a member of the council of the Russian LGBT Network, said, “The majority of human rights organisations and human rights activists actively working in Russia have repeatedly expressed and support the agenda of protecting the rights of LGBT people.”

“Counselling citizens on violations of their rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity is an important part of the work of a human rights advocate. Thus, in 2018, 245 people turned to the Russian LGBT network for legal assistance, the hotline was called 2,050 times, 629 people asked for psychological help,” he said.

Russian president: we have no problem with LGBT people

Responding to claims that Russia is homophobic, Putin had previously said, “I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia.”

“We have no problems with LGBT+ persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish … Let everyone be happy.”

Elton John wrote an open letter to Putin on June 28, saying, “I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies. I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to “be happy” and that “we have no problem in that”.

“Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film Rocketman by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25 year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons. This feels like hypocrisy to me.”