Russian lawmakers have voted in favor of a bill that would ban “sex reassignment” surgery and the legal registration of such changes without surgery. The decision was made during the first reading of the bill in the Russian parliament, the Duma.
According to a statement published on the Duma ‘s website, the ban would only allow exceptions for cases involving congenital anomalies in children, which would need to be confirmed at the government level. Lawmakers justified their decision by citing the existence of a “gender reassignment industry” in Russia that included dishonest doctors, psychologists, LGBT organizations and activists. They alleged that these facilities engaged in destructive practices that targeted adolescents and young people.
If passed, the bill would also prevent registrars’ offices from correcting or amending documents based on medical certificates from health care providers, eliminating the possibility of legal recognition of gender reassignment without surgical intervention. Under current laws, civil registries can make changes to personal documents based on medical certificates of gender reassignment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his opposition to transgender ideology in previous speeches. Last fall, Russia tightened its law on gay propaganda, which bans positive references to sexual minorities. This latest bill is part of a series of similar proposals that have surfaced since last year. Proponents argue that these measures are aimed at protecting the country from the intrusion of what they call anti-family Western ideology.
It is expected that the bill will be further discussed and possibly amended before it enters into law.