- The country’s Ministry of Health, through an order signed last January 22, would create an official procedure in issuing medical certificates bearing the gender identity of trans people starting February 2.
- Until this year, transgender Russians can file an application to change their gender legally but are left to the mercy of the civil registry servants.
- The new development has been positively welcomed by advocates for the way it forwards trans rights in Russia.
For the first time in history, transgender people in Russia can now have their gender identity recognized officially without going through surgery according to the transgender latest news by GayStarNews website posted on January 25.
New rules governing the issuance of medical certificates that indicate trans people’s gender identity will start on February 2.
Legal gender change
Until this year, transgender Russians can file an application to change their gender legally at the civil registry office by submitting a medical certificate on gender/sex change.
The country’s Ministry of Health, through an order signed last January 22, would create an official procedure in issuing the medical certificates.
In its history, Russia has not developed any process in legally recognizing its transgender citizens. The Ministry of Health was instructed to produce medical certificates since 1998 but did not produce any, leaving many applicants at the mercy of civil registry servants.
Complaints from applicants range from being asked excessive requirements, such as requiring them to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Some of those with children would not be given certificate.
A pioneering study on transgender people in the country showed that they faced discrimination. About 50 percent said that they are rejected for jobs based on their gender identity, while still many are scared of seeking healthcare out of fear of being mistreated.
Positive development for trans rights in Russia
Starting October last year, the Ministry started developing a draft that outlined the process on medical certificates for gender/sex change. The draft was opened to the public for discussion.
Advocacy groups focusing on transgender human rights participated and submitted their comments on the text of the working draft, with most of their concerns heard and eventually added to the order.
A few of the proposed changes would the scrapping of requisite period for psychiatrist observation upon application for legal gender change.
In addition, transgender applicants will not have to have any medical procedures in order for their gender identity to be recognized. It would also lift the restriction on legal gender recognition for those who are married or those who have kids.
Instead, a referral to a medical board signifying the applicant’s gender change is to be issued when diagnosed with transsexualism, making the criteria more transparent.
The new development has been positively welcomed by advocates for the way it forwards trans rights in Russia.
Tatiana Glushkova, program coordinator of Transgender Legal Defense Project, said, “We welcome the adoption of the Ministry of Health’s order in its final version, and we believe that its entry into force will significantly improve the situation of trans people in Russia.”
“The document establishes a transparent procedure for legal gender recognition, which would allow trans people to change their documentation without applying to court,” Glushkova continued.
Additionally, Glushkova explained, “In addition, the adoption of the order would bring the Russian legislation in accordance with the European Court of Human Rights case law… At the same time, we regretfully note that the order did not reflect either the global depathologisation process, or the forthcoming reform of the International Classification of Diseases.”