Russian MPs vote to ban gender reassignment

14 Jun 2023 11:07pm
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX

MOSCOW Russia - Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, voted on Wednesday to ban surgical and legal gender reassignment as Moscow solidifies its conservative turn while troops fight in Ukraine.

Russia has for years been a notoriously unfriendly place for anyone who does not comply with the Kremlin's hardline view of "family values".

Pressure on the LGBTQ community has intensified during the Ukraine offensive, often portrayed in Russia as an existential fight against Western liberal values.

MPs approved the first reading of a bill that bans "medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person" and "the state registration of a change of gender without an operation", the Duma website said.

This would include "the formation of a person's primary and (or) secondary sexual characteristics".

It says the government will determine a list of allowed interventions "related to the treatment of congenital physiological anomalies in children".

Ruling United Russia party MP Pyotr Tolstoy said the bill was about "erecting a barrier to the penetration of Western anti-family ideology".

"I really want the guys who are now defending the honour of Russia at the cost of their lives to return home and see that the country has changed," he said on Telegram.

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"That we are all fighting for a new sovereign Russia, as a united front free from Western influence." President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly railed against transgender rights in his speeches.

The bill is the latest in a series of conservative proposals put forward since the Kremlin launched its military intervention in Ukraine last year.

Last autumn, Russia toughened a so-called "gay propaganda" law, in effect banning positive references to LGBTQ relationships - AFP

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