Russia: Duma Passes Law Banning Gender Transitions

July 18, 2023
The Duma Building, Russia’s Lower House

On 14 July, Russian MEPs passed a law banning gender transitions, including banning adoptions of children by transgender people.

“We will do everything to ensure that the future belongs to our families, to our children,” said Viatcheslav Volodine on 14 July. The President of the Lower House of the Russian Parliament (Duma) spoke at the end of the unanimous adoption, with 386 votes, of a law prohibiting any medical intervention aimed at changing a person’s sex.

Changes in civil status, surgery, and hormonal treatments had become available in Russia after the fall of the USSR. Entitled “On the basis of the protection of the health of citizens of the Russian Federation,” the new text of the law prohibits any medical intervention and any prescription of medicine for the purpose of changing sex.

However, the ban does not apply to the treatment of birth defects or growth defects, nor to genetic and hormonal diseases related to sexual organ defects in children.

A marriage may also be dissolved if one of the spouses changes sex. Volodine stated that the purpose of this law was to preserve family values. According to him, Western countries are trying to “impose pseudo-values on the Russians.” Nevertheless, he sees these attempts as “doomed to failure.”

He cited figures from the 2022 Grand View Research study, indicating that the number of transgender people across the Atlantic would reach 1.64 million, including 340,000 adolescents (1.4% of American youth aged 13 to 17).

Noting that 25 of the 27 states of the European Union (except Hungary and Bulgaria) allow for gender change, he described such a trend as “monstrous” leading to “the degeneration of the nation.”

For the past 10 years, the Russian government has speaking in favor of traditional and family values, openly taking the opposite view of the Western progressive discourse. This stance has a twinge if irony given the country's free-falling birth rates and high recourse to abortion.

Just a decade ago, in July 2013, a law was enacted banning “homosexual propaganda for minors in the media and public space,” and another against LGBT propaganda in November 2022. In June 2019, Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times that liberal values had become “obsolete.”

As a result, the Russian president has repeatedly stated his opposition to the designation of father and mother as “parent 1” and “parent 2” as is the case in several European countries, such in France after Marriage for All. He recalled this in an interview in February 2020 and, more recently, in his speech on September 30, 2022.