1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Russia: Gender reassignment ban passes Duma

July 14, 2023

Legislation outlawing gender reassignment has passed its final reading before Russia's lower house of parliament. The Kremlin has been clamping down on LGBTQ people over the past decade.

Gay rights activists carry rainbow flags as they march during a May Day rally in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013
A toughened version of a bill outlawing gender reassignment was passed unanimously in its third and final reading in Russia's lower house of parliament Image: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP/picture alliance

Russian lawmakers on Friday voted in favor of a bill to make gender reassignment illegal.

"The State Duma banned gender reassignment in Russia," the lower house said in a statement, adding that political parties had voted to introduce the new laws "unanimously."

"This decision will protect our citizens and our children," State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement on social media.

Volodin went on to criticize the rate of reassignment surgeries in the United States, adding: "It is a path leading to the degeneration of their nation. This is unacceptable for us." 

It is the third and final reading of the bill in the lower house of parliament. The new legislation must now go before the upper house and then onward to President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law.

Gay activist flees Russia for Germany

What the new bill says

The proposed bill will prohibit "medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person" and "the state registration of a change of gender without an operation."

This includes "the formation of a person's primary and (or) secondary sexual characteristics." Surgeries that are "aimed at treating congenital anomalies in children" would still be allowed.

In the bill's second reading on Thursday, clauses were added to marriages in instances where a person had changed gender. Transgender people would also be barred from becoming foster parents or adopting children.

The Kremlin's crackdown on LGBTQ rights

Putin's administration has repeatedly used attacks on transgender rights, as well as LGBTQ people in general, as a way of pushing the notion that the West has lost its moral compass.

Last year, the Russian parliament passed a so-called "gay propaganda" law that effectively made it illegal to refer to LGBTQ relationships in any kind of positive light.

Russia adopted its first legislation restricting LGBTQ rights in 2013, highlighting its hostility to the depiction of "nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Similar laws have also been passed in EU member Hungary, as well as numerous US states.

kb/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)