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Russia’s First Transgender Politician Announces Detransition

Roman Alyoshin.

Russia’s first transgender politician said Thursday that he has returned to his gender assigned at birth, a surprise announcement that comes amid a nationwide crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community.

Roman Alyoshin previously went by the name Yulia Alyoshina, which he said was listed in an internal passport he received in 2020. Last year, while still identifying as a woman, he dropped a bid to run for governor in Siberia’s Altai region, shortly before President Vladimir Putin banned legal and surgical sex changes.

On Thursday, Alyoshin changed the name of his personal channel on Telegram to “Alyoshin” and replaced the profile picture with himself appearing as a man.

“I realized I was a guy during Lent,” he wrote in a post. “I went through old albums of my ancestors, prayed for them, and it helped the idea set in that I’m a guy.”

“I’m a patriot of my country, that’s why I live in Russia. I apologize to all the Russian people!”

It was not immediately clear under what circumstances Alyoshin, who previously stood for LGBTQ+ rights as a trans female, made the decision to detransition.

Alyoshin headed the opposition Civic Initiative party in Siberia’s Altai region until he announced plans to quit politics in 2022 as Russian lawmakers moved to ban “LGBT propaganda” among all ages, which at the time was banned only for minors.

Since then, Russia’s Supreme Court outlawed the so-called “international LGBT public movement,” leading to police raids on queer venues, imprisonment for displaying “extremist symbols” such as the rainbow flag, and criminal prosecutions of people linked to the LGBTQ+ community.

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