On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation, representing the final step in outlawing gender-affirming procedures in Russia’s LGBTQ+ community. According to reports, this bill received unanimous approval from both houses of parliament and is set to be enforced immediately. The law prohibits all “”medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person,”” as well as any changes to one’s gender in official documents and public records, with an exception for medical interventions addressing congenital anomalies. This ban is believed to stem from the Kremlin’s pursuit of protecting what it considers the country’s “”traditional values.”” Lawmakers argue that the legislation is necessary to shield Russia from “”Western anti-family ideology,”” and some have gone so far as to label gender transitioning as “”pure satanism.”” Concerned LGBTQ+ activists have warned that this law may exacerbate the already high suicide rates and increase the number of suicide attempts. Additionally, they fear that it will lead to a rise in underground markets for gender change surgeries and medications. In an interview with The Moscow Times earlier this month, Yan Dvorkin, the head of Center-T, a group supporting transgender and non-binary individuals in Russia, expressed, “”The way how these people see their future is collapsing.”” This isn’t the first instance of Russia targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The campaign began a decade ago when Putin first championed “”traditional family values,”” backed by the Russian Orthodox Church. Subsequently, in 2013, the Kremlin passed legislation prohibiting any public endorsement of “”nontraditional sexual relations”” among minors. Reuters previously reported that a health ministry order mandated Russian clinics to have sexologists on staff to help patients “overcome” homosexuality and other sexual “mental disorders.”
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