14 Jun 2023 23:15

State Duma passes bill in 1st reading banning sex change, except for treatment of congenital anomalies in children

MOSCOW. June 14 (Interfax) - A bill banning sex change has passed the first reading in Russia's State Duma.

"Medical workers are banned from performing medical interventions aimed at changing a person's sex, including the formation of the primary and/or secondary sexual characteristics of the opposite sex," the bill says.

"Medical interventions as part of the treatment of congenital physiological anomalies in sex formation in children are allowed upon a decision made by a medical commission of a federal state healthcare provider," it says.

The authors of the document are almost 400 parliamentarians.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin earlier said decisions on sex change could be made in private clinics. "And a person gets up in the morning and decides that he is no longer a man, but a woman, not a woman, but a man. And goes to a commercial clinic, the service costs from 30,000 rubles to 60,000 rubles, he gets a certificate and takes this certificate further to the civil registry office, to the passport office to change the first name, middle name and last name," Volodin said.

And then "the following can happen: they get married legally and also, God forbid, adopt a child," he said.

State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy earlier said that a full ban was imposed not only on medical interference aimed at sex change, but also that state registration of sex change without surgery is ruled out.

Russian Deputy Health Minister Oleg Salagai said transsexuals would continue receiving medical assistance after the adoption of the bill banning sex change.

"Speaking about numbers, the Interior Ministry statistics, which are based on applications that come in, are probably precise in this regard. In 2022, 996 people applied for new passports based on sex change. As for surgery, this number is lower, bearing in mind that illnesses that require various volumes of medical assistance are rather rare. There are no separate statistics on surgical activity in this regard. It's only the information that we additionally collected from our colleagues in federal centers," Salagai said.

Responding to a question as to whether the Health Ministry's approach to transgenderism has changed because it has been removed from psychiatry according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), whether it has been recognized as a normal state, Salagai said: "The ICD is just a classifier, a classification of diseases. We are working on the assumption that there is no doubt that this state is a disease, regardless of putting transsexualism from one column to another one."

The Russian Health Ministry supports the adoption the bill in its first reading on condition of its improvement by the second reading, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

"First of all, I want to say that the Health Ministry supports the unacceptability of sex change only based on a patient's wish or specific, let's put it this way, unauthorized actions, which essentially led to the figure [those who changed their passports due to sex change] that was announced today. Therefore, the toughening and reinforcement of the factor in making decisions on surgical and hormonal treatment, of course, should be based only on high-level conciliums. And federal establishments should be involved in that," Murashko said at a plenary session of the State Duma on Wednesday.

Many experts in various specializations spoke during the discussion of this bill, he said. "Some factors that are pseudoscientific were manifested and started being discarded in the process," he said.

"I think this bill may now pass the first reading. This work, as was already said, will continue for the second reading. We believe this track in the state policies to support family, the track to improve the demographic situation in the country should go in this direction," Murashko said.

"We are now talking about further narrowing the framework while adopting this bill. There are disorders associated with gender formation: congenital, inherited, endocrine diseases." Such disorders are not frequent, and it is necessary to retain the possibility of medical procedures for such cases, the minister said.