Russia Bans Trans People And Those With 'Disorders Of Sexual Preference' From Driving [UPDATE]

Russia Bans Trans People And Those With 'Disorders Of Sexual Preference' From Driving [UPDATE]

UPDATE Jan. 16, 2015: Russian Health Ministry spokesman Oleg Salagai said the new restrictions will not affect transgender drivers, according to the Associated Press.

In comments carried by the Interfax news agency, Salagai is quoted as saying that the ban would only target people with psychological conditions whose "mental reactions ... make driving a vehicle a source of danger."


Russia has reportedly banned transgender people, as well as those who suffer from "disorders of sexual preference," from obtaining driver's licenses.

The BBC reports that the Russian government has released a legislative document which outlines a revised set of medical controls for drivers in an effort to cut down on the number of car accidents.

Although most of the provisions refer to physical impairments (such as blindness), "gender identity disorders" including "transsexualism” and “dual-role transvestism” are referenced in the document, as well as “sadomasochism" and “exhibitionism," according to BuzzFeed's J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage.

Among those to decry the new regulations was Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First, who noted that "banning people from driving based on their gender identity or expression is ridiculous and just another example of the Russian regime’s methodical rollback of basic human rights for its citizens.”

“Beyond the denial of basic freedoms, this provision may deter transgender people from seeking mental health services for fear of receiving a diagnosis that would strip them of their right to drive, and leaves the door open for increased harassment, persecution, and discrimination of transgender people by Russian authorities," Gaylord added in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post which also appeared on the group's website. "We urge the United States to immediately condemn this provision and to press the Russian government to repeal this decision."

While Russian psychiatric expert Mikhail Strakhov and Valery Evtushenko of the Russian Psychiatric Association were among those to also condemn the regulations, Alexander Kotov of Russia's Professional Drivers Union said be believed "toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified," according to the BBC.

Of course, the driving regulations are just one contribution in what appears to be an increasingly volatile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Russians.

Russia's stance on its LGBT residents came under intense scrutiny last year in the wake of global speculation as to how its controversial "gay propaganda" law would impact foreign athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as attendees.

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