Russia takes woman’s kids away ‘because she’s transgender and gay’
Russian courts have taken a woman’s children away from her after they accused her of being a trans man in a same-sex relationship.
Social services removed Yulia Savinovskikh’s two foster sons in August last year on suspicion that she was a transgender man.
Authorities rooted the claim about her gender identity on the basis that she had a breast reduction surgery.
Savinovskikh had the surgery because she lives an active lifestyle with her children and dog and it made it easier for her to continue doing the physical activities she loved to do.
However, social workers claimed that she had sought out the surgery illegally, suggesting that she planned to have other gender-affirming surgeries.
Savinovskikh thought that the situation was “some kind of hellish misunderstanding” and she provided them with a note from the hospital where the surgery was performed legally but was still not believed.
She explained: “I just reduced my breasts. With or without my breasts, I’ll remain a woman, a mother to my children.”
However, social services claimed that she had “some sort of disease that prevents her from being a guardian”.
The motivation filed in the courts stated: “Savinovskikh’s self-identification as a male — taking into account her marriage with a man, the desire to adopt a social role peculiar to a male — in essence, contradicts the principles of our country’s family law, the traditions and mentality of our society.”
The judge in the case ruled that she was in a same-sex marriage, which she is not, and so the foster children “should not be brought up in a same-sex family”.
The local district court sided with the social workers in the case and ruled that her fostered sons, who were with the family for three years, should not be returned.
Russia has one of the fiercest anti-LGBT agendas across the world, with no legal protections being provided for the LGBTQ community regarding anti-discrimination.
Federal law bans the distribution of ‘homosexual propaganda’ and in some regions, LGBTQ people face severe persecution to the point of death, as seen in Chechnya.
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The 28-year-old began her transition ten years ago after losing her mother, father and grandmother but her grandfather was still alive.
At the time, she was living with him, but he had a violent reaction to her coming out and he beat, humiliated, abused and insulted her until she was forced to leave the home.
“He started drinking alcohol hard. He hit me and bit me a few times. He forced me to leave my home and kicked me out onto the street,” she explained.
Their relationship was completely deteriorated for years, and Demidova tried to kill herself as her depression spiralled.
Discrimination came from outside of her family too, as all of her friends deserted her and strangers on the street began to harass and attack her.