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Russia withdraws terrifying bill to legally erase trans people – but the threat hasn’t yet gone away

Patrick Kelleher November 17, 2020
Russia withdraws terrifying bill to legally erase trans people – but the threat hasn't yet gone away

Members and supporters of the LGBT community take part in a May Day rally in St Petersburg on May 1, 2015. (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Lawmakers in Russia have withdrawn a terrifying bill that would have legally erased trans people – but the threat has not yet gone away.

Conservative lawmakers pulled two bills on Monday (16 November) after they faced widespread criticism from lawyers and activists in Russia, where anti-LGBT+ sentiment is common.

If passed, the bills would have banned same-sex marriage and adoption, and would have prevented trans people from having their gender legally recognised.

However, the threat to LGBT+ people is still looming, with lawmakers hoping to redraft the bills in an effort to convince other representatives to vote in their favour, Moscow Times reports.

“Both bills are being withdrawn in order to find a version that all interested parties will accept, if possible,” senator Andrei Klishas, who co-authored one of the bills, told Interfax.

Klishas noted that the bills had “caused a lot of controversy and discord among the public”, and suggested that this was why lawmakers had decided to redraft them.

Both bills are being withdrawn in order to find a version that all interested parties will accept, if possible.

Senator Alexander Bashkin, who co-authored the bill that sought to ban trans people from having their gender legally recognised alongside Yelena Mizulina, said: “I’m confident we’ll find this common path, taking into account a large number of proposals.”

He added: “We won’t have discrepancies, contradictions and disagreements.”

An anti-trans bill in Russia was rejected because it would infringe on child welfare – but it could now be redrafted.

The news comes just weeks after Russia’s Government Commission on Legislative Activities rejected Mizulina’s draft law, which was described as aiming to “strengthen the institution of the family”.

Days before, the country’s Human Rights Council said the proposed legal changes would infringe on child welfare, telling lawmakers to return to the drawing board.

While the proposed bills have been rejected for now, Russia’s LGBT+ community fears that they could pass at a future date after they are redrafted to meet the requirements of other lawmakers.

Anti-LGBT+ sentiment is common in Russia, with the infamous “gay propaganda” law – also authored by Mizulina – passed in 2013.

Furthermore, pollsters found in 2019 that 87 per cent of citizens are against marriage equality – meaning queer people are unlikely to have the right to marry anytime soon in the harshly anti-LGBT+ country.

 

 

More: Alexander Bashkin, Andrei Klishas, gay propaganda law, Russia, transphobia, yelena mizulina

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