Citing concerns about the decay of “traditional values,” Russian lawmakers unanimously passed a law prohibiting doctors from performing so-called “gender-affirming” surgeries today.
According to CTV News, the legislation outlaws any “medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person,” including the alteration of gender markers on official documents and public records. Transgender individuals will also be banned from becoming foster or adoptive parents.
CBS notes that these revisions to the law have the authority to dissolve marriages involving individuals who have changed their gender identity “even if this union is ‘of different sexes.’”
Although the Bill needs approval from the Federation Council, which is the upper house of Russian parliament, along with a signature from President Vladimir Putin, the Bill will likely pass without opposition due to its widespread support among officials.
While critics are citing the Bill as “another blow to the country’s oppressed LGBTQ+ community,” Pyotr Tolstoy, the Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of the parliament, asserted the measures were intended to protect the nation’s values.
“The Western transgender industry is trying to seep into our country, to open up the window for its multibillion-dollar business,” Tolstoy said, adding that there is a “network of sex change clinics with trans-friendly doctors that allegedly target young people for profit.”
This is not the first time Russia has passed legislation aimed at preserving “traditional values.” According to CBS, several laws have been passed since 2013, including the “gay propaganda” law, which bans the public endorsement of “non-traditional sexual relations” among minors.
The law was reportedly expanded to include adults in 2022, which CBS claimed banned “any representation of LGBTQ+ people in the public sphere, movies, literature or media.”
Last year, “996 people applied to change their gender on their passports in Russia,” Newsmax reports. In response to the ban, doctors who provide “gender-affirming” care say that this new legislation may open doors to a black market for hormones.
Dr. Andrei Instanov, a plastic surgeon who treats transgender patients, believes the ban will force transgender people to self-medicate, adding that “psychologically, patients will definitely suffer.”
Despite the backlash from LGBT activists, many users on Twitter praised the news, deeming the decision a huge win for Russia.
One user who goes by the handle @ShellyLupton4 described Putin as “sane” compared to other world leaders.
“The leader of his country who everyone thinks is ‘bad Putin,’ yet seems the most sane to me.”
Although the total number of transgender people in Russia is currently unknown, Newsmax points out that until now, individuals have been allowed to change their gender on their IDs since 1997.