New illustration of the acceleration of the conservative turn taken in Russia in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine. Russian MPs have tabled a bill to ban almost any possibility of changing sex, surgically or legally. In a press release published on Tuesday evening, the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, specifies that the proposal aims to ban “the performance of medical interventions to change sex”. More broadly, the text also aims to prohibit “registration in the civil status of sex change without operation”according to the press release.
This project was developed by nearly four hundred deputies, under the leadership of Duma Speaker Viatcheslav Volodin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, the statement added. The text provides for exceptions allowing this type of surgical intervention in cases of“congenital anomalies” in children in the formation of their genitals. These exceptional medical operations will however have to be validated at the government level, underlines the press release from the Duma.
The Duma has not announced when the proposal will be considered for the first reading, but some media outlets have reported that the process could start as early as Thursday.
In parallel with the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian authorities have accelerated the promotion of a conservative morality policy, in association with the Orthodox Church, on behalf of “traditional values” facing kyiv and its Western allies presented as decadent. In recent months, several Russian officials have called for example to punish the “radical feminism” comparing it to an extremist ideology.
In Russia, LGBTQ+ people often face hostility, violence and sometimes even murder. Homosexuality was considered a crime there until 1993 and a mental illness until 1999. Since 2013, a law prohibits the “propaganda” homosexual and, according to NGOs, is used to persecute LGBTQ+ people. Since 2020, the Russian Constitution indicates that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.