Vladimir Putin signs Russia law banning trans healthcare and adoptions, and annulling marriages

Several activists carry rainbow Pride flags in St Petersburg, Russia

Vladimir Putin has signed extreme legislation which bans all forms of gender-affirming care in Russia, as well as removing marriage and adoption rights for trans people. 

The Russian president signed the law on Monday (24 July), which officially bans “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person”, including gender-affirming surgery and prescribing hormone therapy, The Moscow Times reported.

The new law also outlaws changing gender markers on official documents such as passports, which had been legal in Russia since 1997.

Passed by both houses of the Russian parliament earlier this month, the law also bans trans people from adopting a child and annuls marriages in which one of the partners is trans. 

When the law passed through the lower house of parliament on 14 July, Duma speaker Volodin Vyacheslav Victorovich claimed it “protects our citizens [and] children”. 

Doctors and LGBTQ+ activists in the country have warned that the legislation could lead to an increase in attempted suicides and a black market for hormone substitutes.

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“The hypocrisy of not allowing adults to make decisions about their bodies… is not unique to Russia but rather part of a cynical and exploitative anti-rights tilt politicians around the world are taking,” Kyle Knight, a senior researcher on health and LGBT rights at Human Rights Watch, said when the bill was proposed in June.

“Russian politicians are harming transgender and intersex people by continuing to deploy cynical ‘family-values’ rhetoric to uphold regressive ideas about gender and sexuality while assaulting informed consent rights for adults and children.”

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‘You have to be silent to stay in Russia’

The law is part of a crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights under Putin, and follows November’s vote to expand Russia’s notorious “LGBTQ+ propaganda bill” to cover adults as well as children.

A queer YouTuber who was detained in Russia for alleged “LGBTQ+ propaganda” said that the law silences queer people.

Gela Gogishvili, who was arrested in April along with his partner Haoyang Xu, for violating the law, told PinkNews: “The propaganda is working because this is what will happen to you.

“You either have to be silent if you want to stay in Russia or, if you want to express all of this, you have to get out of Russia.”

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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