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Petition opposes legislation to limit rights of trans Russians

Russia is considering legislation that, if adopted, will prohibit trans people from changing the gender assigned to them on their birth certificates. Here’s how you can voice your opposition.

On July 28 (yesterday), 12 Russian organizations and LGBTQ-friendly initiatives launched a petition opposing the proposal.

The coalition called on the international community to:

  • Sign the petition and share it with friends, colleagues, and others.
  • Make a statement on the unacceptability of discrimination against LGBT+ people in Russia.
  • Turn the spotlight on what is happening in Russia by all possible means, including but not limited to posting on social media with hashtag #ProtectRussianTransLives to spread awareness.
  • Support the work of Russian LGBT+ organizations and initiatives by making donations.

Below is the text of the appeal on the All Out portal. Click that link to sign it.

Logo of AllOut.org. (Click the image to visit the website.)
Logo of AllOut.org. (Click the image to sign the petition.)

On 14th July, 2020, a group of Russian senators introduced a draft law “aimed at strengthening the institution of the family”. In the explanatory note to the bill they explain the need for adoption by, first, the inconsistency between the current legislation and the previously adopted amendments to the Russian Constitution, which now define marriage as a union between man and woman, and, second, by the general demand of the society to preserve family values.

One of the amendments adds to the Family Code a prohibition of same-sex marriage. According to the authors of the bill, “sex” means “gender marker, assigned at birth”. In order to prevent transgender people from entering into marriage after changing their gender marker, the legislators suggest modifying the existing procedure of legal gender recognition. The draft law assumes that transgender people will no longer be able to change their name and legal gender marker in their birth certificates.

The text of the draft law leaves it open whether transgender people will be able to change other documents. Moreover, the draft law will have retroactive effect and will oblige transgender people, who have already changed their documents, to change their birth certificates back. At the same time, the fate of the marriages already contracted by transgender people remains unclear.

We state that the proposed law is of a discriminatory nature and infringes rights of LGBT+ people and their loved ones.

The 2013 law prohibiting the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” made it virtually impossible to hold public assemblies aimed at protecting the LGBT+ rights, as well as informing LGBT+ teenagers. Now the state has gone further and plans on declaring transgender people second-class citizens, denying them the enjoyment of their most basic rights.

Russian LGBT+ NGOs, human rights activists and some public figures have already condemned the proposed bill. We call on the legislators to reject these amendments.

This is the text of the petition, which more than 1,400 people had already signed as of today.:

To Mr. Volodin, Chairperson of the State Duma of the Russian Federation:

LGBT+ people in Russia commonly face discrimination, hatred and violence. The adoption of the proposed amendments will lead to even greater hostility towards LGBT+ people. If this bill is adopted, the state will declare transgender people second-class citizens, while it directly contradicts Article 19 of the Constitution.

We call on you to turn down these amendments and to adopt legislation that would prevent discrimination against individuals on any grounds, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Members of the coalition launching the petition are:

  1. Initiative group “Action” https://center-action.org/

  2. Initiative group “Human to Human” https://www.humantohuman.ru/

  3. Krasnodar LGBT Social Movement “Revers” https://reverslgbt.org/

  4. “Coming Out” LGBT group https://comingoutspb.com/eng/

  5. “Rakurs” LGBT-group https://vk.com/rakurs29lgbt

  6. LGBT Faction of the “Civil society” movement https://civsoc.net/frakciya/lgbt-frakciya/

  7. Moscow LGBT group “Stimul” https://www.msk-stimul.eu/?lang=en

  8. Мoscow Community Center for LGBT+ Initiatives http://www.mcclgbt.com

  9. Transgender Legal Defense Project http://pravo-trans.eu/

  10. Russian LGBT Network https://help.lgbtnet.org/en

  11. The SNoW-initiative https://www.facebook.com/TheSnowInitiative/

  12. Trans Initiative Group T-Action http://t-action-team.org/

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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