Russia ban on all trans healthcare passes first stage of parliament approval

Russia president Vladimir Putin, who has a history of attacking LGBTQ+ people, wears a suit and tie as he sits in front of a red background

Russia’s parliament has approved a bill that would outlaw gender-affirming healthcare for trans people of all ages across the country.

The proposed bill, which was approved by the lower house of parliament on Friday (14 July), will now be sent to the upper house before landing in the hands of President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law.

It would ban any “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person”, as well as changing gender markers on official documents like passports, which had been legal in Russia since 1997. 

Under the bill, health professionals are also barred from “performing medical interventions designed to change the sex of a person”, including gender-affirming surgery and prescribing hormone therapy.

Provisions added to the bill by State Duma deputies in its second reading and approved on Thursday (13 July), also ban trans people from adopting or fostering children, and will force their marriages to be annulled if one member of a couple subsequently changes gender. 

‘Absolute hopelessness’

On Friday, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on the messenger app Telegram that the law “protects our citizens (and) children”.

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The comment came after the chairman of the State Duma took to the app to call gender-affirming surgery a “path to the degeneration of the nation”, as reported by Reuters.

But doctors and LGBTQ+ activists have warned that the ban could lead to an increase in attempted suicides and a black market for hormone substitutes. 

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Elle Solomina, a Russian trans woman who now lives in Georgia, told Reuters: “For children and teenagers, this situation looks like absolute hopelessness. They will not be able to get any help.” 

Following the bill passing three readings in the State Duma lower house of parliament, it will now be sent to the upper house and then to President Putin for signing.

The ban is part of a crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights under Putin and follows Russia voting to expand its notorious LGBTQ+ ‘propaganda’ bill to cover all ages in November 2022.

At the time, activists warned that the expansion signalled a crackdown on queer rights in the country, with Aleksandr Voronov, CEO of LGBTQ+ group Coming Out, telling PinkNews that the bill was “another repressive law of pressure on the media”. 

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

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