President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a controversial law that bans legal and surgical sex changes, a move that deprives transgender Russians of the right to access gender-affirming services.
The law, which makes "medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person" and "the state registration of a change of gender without an operation" illegal, was swiftly passed by both houses of the Russian parliament earlier this month.
The law also bans individuals who have undergone gender reassignment from adopting children and annuls marriages in which one of the partners is transgender.
It enters into force immediately.
LGBT activists have warned that the law will lead to a further increase in already high rates of suicide and suicide attempts among transgender people, as well as encourage an underground market for surgeries and medications.
“The way how these people see their future is collapsing,” Yan Dvorkin, the head of Center-T, a group that helps transgender and non-binary people in Russia, said in an interview with The Moscow Times this month.
The law is the latest step in Russia’s crackdown on the rights of the country’s LGBTQ+ community in an effort to promote what it calls “traditional values” in the face of Western liberalism.
Late last year, Russia passed a law banning the “propaganda” of LGBT relationships and lifestyles toward all ages, effectively outlawing public displays and media portrayals of non-heterosexual identities.