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Russia's Health Ministry opposes gender transition law citing heightened suicide risk, Duma Speaker urges to avoid amendments

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Mikhail Murashko, head of Russia’s Ministry of Health, announced that a complete ban on “sex changes” may lead to an increase in suicides across the country at a State Duma hearing on June 14. Murashko supported the prohibition of “sex changes” solely based on a patient's request and advocated stricter requirements for surgery and hormone therapy, but did not advocate a complete ban on gender transitions.

“Indeed, a number of points have begun to be clarified and near-scientific factors have begun to be swept away. By the second reading, this work will continue,” Murashko said.

In response, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin asked Murashko not to propose amendments to the law. Earlier on June 14, a bill banning “sex changes” was passed in the first reading.

“We would like the Ministry of Health not to issue any amendments by the second reading, reasoning that it takes care of people. Care should be taken, if you will, by banning all this fornication,” Volodin said.

Volodin also rebuked doctors who apparently thought not making money, not “service to society.”

MP Pyotr Tolstoy, who presented the bill at the Duma hearing, said that the deputies received “a very emotional opinion of the Ministry of Health.”

“If the bill is passed, it will result in a stalemate in which people whose gender is officially recognized by medical professionals as not matching the gender indicated in their passport, poor souls, will not be able to bring their passport data in line with the reality that has developed in their heads. This could cause ethical, medical and social problems and also lead to – what you consider to be – an increase in suicides in the country. Colleagues, well, excuse me, this approach – if we agree with it, with the position of the Ministry of Health – means that this law should not be passed.”

After that, Tolstoy suggested future discussions of controlling drugs for medical abortions and banning abortions at “commercial clinics that are done for profit in violation of the law.”

The bill completely bans “sex changes” through surgery and modifications to one’s passport; with an exception for congenital anomalies in children. After the president's signature, the amendments will be made to the laws “On Protection of Health” and “On Acts of Civil Status.” The document also forbids Russia’s civil registry offices to make changes to documents based on medical certificates of gender reassignment. This means that transgender people will not be able to change the “sex” column in their passports.

Permission to treat congenital physiological abnormalities of gender formation in children will have to be obtained from medical commissions of Russian government institutions. The list of establishments will be approved by the Russian government.

Experts who work with LGBTQ+ people explained to The Insider that the Duma insists on the use of the incorrect and transphobic term “sex change,” and also wants to pass the toughest version of the bill, which would ban transgender people in Russia from every aspect of a gender transition: from changing documents to surgical manipulations. The legislation will eventually lead to an underground surgery market and an increase in cases of depression, said the experts.

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