MOSCOW, RUS~ The latest step in the Kremlin-orchestrated onslaught on LGBTQ+ rights was the introduction of a draft bill by Russian MPs on Tuesday that would prohibit gender-affirming surgery. The proposal to outlaw gender-affirming surgery was put up by four hundred members of the State Duma, which has 450 seats total. The only exception would be surgeries designed to correct “congenital physiological anomalies.” Those exceptional circumstances will be subject to the regulation of specialized medical panels, which will be under the careful supervision of the government.
The legislation that is being suggested would also make it illegal to change one’s legal name or gender on official documents or public records. According to Pyotr Tolstoy, a prominent politician who is one of the writers of the bill, the purpose of the legislation is to “protect Russia with its cultural and family values and traditions and to stop the infiltration of the Western anti-family ideology.”
The new legislation, which will almost certainly be quickly approved by the Duma and rubber-stamped by the upper chamber before it is signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin, illustrates an increasingly intolerant stance taken by the Kremlin regarding problems pertaining to gender. In the midst of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, it coincides with a tightening of restrictions on freedom of speech and other fundamental human rights.
Putin, who is responsible for initiating constitutional changes that among other things included an amendment defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, has often insulted LGBTQ+ rights, painting them as the trappings of a decadent West. Among the constitutional amendments that were introduced by Putin was an amendment that defined marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman.
In December, Vladimir Putin passed a law that prohibits advertising, media and online resources, as well as books, films, and theatrical shows that are regarded to involve “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” The rule essentially criminalized LGBT pride marches by vastly expanding a ban on similar “propaganda” directed at minors that had been enacted in 2013. Rights organizations have leveled severe criticism at the bill, arguing that it encourages homophobia, intolerance, and discrimination at the state level.
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