Russian President Putin signs law banning gender reassignment surgery

In recent months, Putin has strengthened anti-LGBTQ laws as the Kremlin clamps down on free expression and human rights in the midst of the Ukraine conflict, as per CNN.

Published: 26th July 2023 11:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2023 11:53 AM   |  A+A-

Russia Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting. (File Photo | AP)


MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning gender reassignment surgeries in the country, state media TASS reported.

The law was published on the official portal of legal information on Monday.

The document supplements the law outlawing medical treatments and the use of medications intended to switch genders to the statute protecting the health of Russian nationals, as per TASS.

The Russian News Agency TASS, abbreviated TASS, is a Russian state-owned news agency founded in 1904.

The restriction does not apply to medical procedures used to address child mal-development and birth defects, as well as genetic and endocrine problems linked to childhood disorders of sexual differentiation. Medical commissioners of the agencies under the Russian Ministry of Health will decide on such operations.

A sex swap by either partner in a marriage is legally grounds for divorce. In addition, those who change their gender are ineligible to be foster parents or other child carers.

The law's goals, as stated in the explanatory note, are to maintain Russian society's constitutional moral principles and family values as well as to safeguard people's health, particularly that of children.

On the day it is published, the law becomes effective. People who changed their gender before it took effect will not be affected by it.

Earlier on July 14, The Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, approved a new law prohibiting nearly all medical help for transgender persons, including gender reassignment surgery, as part of a slew of new anti-LGBTQ laws in Russia, CNN reported.

In recent months, Putin has strengthened anti-LGBTQ laws as the Kremlin clamps down on free expression and human rights in the midst of the Ukraine conflict, as per CNN.

These latest legal developments in Russia impose more restrictions on the LGBTQ community and show the country's tightening of rules and control over transgender rights.

Russia strengthened its existing "gay propaganda" law in December 2022 in order to impose control over public discourse and narratives around non-heterosexual relationships and identities.

The package of amendments signed by Putin includes stern penalties for anyone promoting “non-traditional sexual relations and/or preferences,” as well as gender transition, according to CNN.

Yulia Alyoshina, Russia’s first transgender politician, has issued warning of the severe consequences of the proposed transgender bill.

“Once the bill becomes law, the repercussions will be harsh, as transgender individuals will be denied the right for medical care, which is constitutionally guaranteed,” Alyoshina told CNN.

“This bill is not just discriminatory, it is a real genocide of transgender people,” Alyoshina added.

Alyoshina resigned from her job as regional chairman of the Civic Initiative party and opted to terminate her political career in October, amid hearings on "LGBTQ propaganda" legislation revisions and a bill receiving its first reading in the State Duma.

The most recent limitations appear to be inextricably linked to Russia's continuous opposition to political and human rights activism, according to CNN.

Notably, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on the day of the final reading that it had jailed a transgender activist on suspicion of treason.

The FSB said that the activist, a Russian citizen from the Oryol area, aided the Armed Forces of Ukraine by donating money to the independent human rights monitoring group OVD-Info.

Under a statute that opponents believe suppresses opposition, the Russian government designated OVD-Info as a foreign agent in 2021. Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the organisation expanded its scope to assist anti-war demonstrators while continuing to monitor human rights violations within Russia, reported CNN.

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