The lower chamber of parliament, the Russian State Duma, has passed a bill that would impose strict limits on people’s ability to change their sex, both medically and legally.
The bill aligns with the Russian government’s opposition to “transgender ideology” in the West. State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin cited rising US numbers of what are called ‘gender-affirming surgeries’ to argue that the limitations in Russia are necessary, claiming that the number of procedures has increased by 50 times over a decade.
The sponsors of the bill said that last year under 1,000 people asked to legally change their sex in Russia, which requires gender-affirming surgery. But the annual figure has been growing, they stressed, blaming a “sex change industry” which is targeting young people.
The MPs have also accused “malpracticing doctors, psychologists, and a developed network of LGBT organizations and activists” of pushing Russian youths into seeking sex change treatments.
They claimed that one could find a private medical facility that would certify a patient’s medical need for transition without proper examination. The service would cost as little as $330.
Their answer is to license only some federal-level clinics to make the call on whether a patient needs to undergo sex-altering treatment. A medical council will be required to take such a decision in cases of “congenital anomalies, genetic and endocrine conditions, connected to abnormal formation of sexual organs in children.”
The bill will also alter the Russian civil law in several ways. It permits only licensed clinics to issue certificates that allow a person to change legal sex on the national register.
A person’s decision to do that would automatically cause their marriage, if any, to be nullified. Russia only recognizes a union between a man and a woman as a marriage.
Such people will also be barred from adopting children or being legal guardians of minors.
In 2022, Russia also banned surrogacy for foreigners (i.e. trade in children)” and also approved a complete ban on ‘LGBTQ propaganda’.