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Russian Lawmakers Approve Ban on Gender Reassignment

Voting in the State Duma. duma.gov.ru

Lawmakers from the Russian parliament's lower-house State Duma on Friday approved a ban on legal and surgical sex changes.

The bill was passed in its third and final reading, banning "medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person" and "the state registration of a change of gender without an operation."

According to the legislation, medical commissions will determine a list of allowed interventions related to the treatment of “congenital anomalies, genetic and endocrine diseases associated with the impaired formation of the genital organs in children.”

"This decision will protect our citizens and our children," State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on the Telegram messaging app. 

He described gender reassignment as “the path leading to the degeneration of the nation,” adding that “this is unacceptable” for Russia.

Human rights activists warn that banning gender reassignment will lead to the emergence of an underground market for surgeries and an increase in the number of suicides among transgender people.

The new legislation must now pass a single reading in the upper-house Federation Council before it can be signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin, steps seen as formalities. 

Once passed, the bill will prohibit child adoption by those who have had a sex change, while also allowing for the annulment of marriages where one of the partners has undergone gender reassignment.

Russian officials have frequently cast Western liberal values, particularly gender and sexual freedoms, as a foreign ideology that threatens Russia's so-called "traditional and spiritual values."

Last year, Russia imposed a law banning the "propaganda" of LGBT relationships and lifestyles toward all ages, effectively outlawing public displays and media portrayals of non-heterosexual identities.

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