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“You're a man! Your passport is just a piece of paper!”: Transgender woman held at Moscow police station for over a day

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A transgender woman was detained in one of Moscow's shopping malls and held at a police station for over a day without being charged, according to a report by human rights project Delo LGBT+ on June 20. The woman was denied legal assistance, as her lawyer was not allowed to visit her at the station.

Media outlet Sota reported that the detainee is known on YouTube as “Olisiya Kat” – a trash streamer that regularly dresses up as Catwoman. The woman had already mentioned being subject to frequent conflicts in Moscow’s shopping centers in her streams, with one of the latest encounters having taken place four weeks ago.

The woman, who goes by the last name Chernigovskaya, was detained at the “Mosaic” shopping center in Moscow. She called the police herself after the building’s security guards tried to escort her out of the building. Law enforcement officers arrived, and took her in to a police station.

According to Novaya Gazeta Europe, the police have been holding the girl at the station for over a day and telling her that she is a man. The officers have refused to give her any food, demanding that she drink “from the tap or toilet bowl,” and have told her that her passport is “just a piece of paper.” The detainee's lawyer was denied visiting his client.

The woman was released at around 16.00 Moscow time on June 21, according to a post on her Telegram channel.

On June 14, Russia’s State Duma passed a bill banning surgical operations “aimed at changing a person’s sex” and changing one’s gender marker in legal documents in its first reading. During the session, multiple parties in the Duma vocally criticized the document, such as the Ministry of Health, headed by Mikhail Murashko. The minister said that a complete ban on “sex changes” [the term the Duma uses to describe gender transitions – The Insider] could lead to a rise in the number of suicides across the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin also ordered the creation of a psychiatric institute to study the “social behavior” of LGBT people.

Russia previously passed a law banning “LGBT propaganda.” The law does not contain any precise definitions, and in fact it applies to a person of any orientation – for example, the law can be used to prosecute people who openly say that they do not want to have children.

Alice Femina, a trans woman and a citizen of Kazakhstan, who has lived in Moscow for more than 15 years, recently served 15 days behind bars at the Sakharov detention center for shouting the slogan “Glory to Ukraine.” Femina was also abused by police after being arrested.

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