Russia Enacts Draconian Law to Clamp Down on LGBTQ+ Rights

In a significant blow to the LGBTQ+ community, Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new legislation that imposes strict prohibitions on gender changes. The law, which received unanimous approval from both houses of parliament, forbids individuals from medically or officially altering their gender, exacerbating the marginalization faced by Russia’s embattled LGBTQ+ population.

Under this new legislation, any medical interventions aimed at altering a person’s sex are prohibited, and changing one’s gender in official documents or public records is no longer allowed. The only exception permitted is medical intervention to address congenital anomalies.

However, the implications of this legislation reach beyond mere gender changes. It also affects marriages and family planning. The law invalidates marriages in which one partner has undergone a gender change, and it outright prevents transgender individuals from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

The roots of this ban on gender changes and the broader crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights lie in the Kremlin’s pursuit of preserving what it deems as the nation’s “traditional values.” Lawmakers argue that the legislation is necessary to protect Russia from what they view as “western anti-family ideology,” with some even going so far as to label gender transitioning as “pure satanism,” showcasing the conservative stance taken by the government.

This repressive approach towards LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia has been escalating over the past decade. It started with President Putin’s emphasis on promoting “traditional family values,” a stance that garnered support from the Russian Orthodox Church. Subsequently, in 2013, the Kremlin enacted legislation that prohibited any public endorsement of “nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. Then, in 2020, Putin introduced constitutional reforms that banned same-sex marriages. The previous year saw another law targeting the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among adults, further tightening the grip on LGBTQ+ rights in the country.