- Vadislav, a transgender man, was arrested upon claiming his parcel containing the hormone testosterone at the post office.
- He was suspected of being an athlete using drugs to enhance his performance or a smuggler who would sell the substance to the black market.
- Since 2007, testosterone is one of the potent substances under Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code.
Authorities arrested a transgender man while he was claiming his packet containing the hormone testosterone from the post office according to the transgender news article posted by PinkNews on January 31.
Ordering the hormone from the country of Belarus, Vladislav said that he has been collecting his purchase from the post office for 18 months without being accosted.
Buying hormones in Russia
“I bought on foreign websites – that is, Belarus,” he said in an interview. “For a while – these 18 months – everything was fine.”
Obtaining the hormone in a Russian drugstore could be costly and Vladislav explained that making an online order is an option that he described as the simplest and most profitable.
However, he didn’t know that it was prohibited.
“I did not even know in principle that it was forbidden,” he continued.
When Vladislav went to the post office in November last year to collect his parcel, two custom authorities arrested him.
He narrated, “They introduced themselves and said that they had received a tip about me that I was getting something illegal at the post office.”
They interrogated Vladislav after they confiscated his order and brought him to their vehicle.
“I’m transgender, and I need it,” he informed the arresting officers.
Testosterone is one of the substances declared potent in Russia. Vladislav is charged for smuggling the hormone as declared under Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code since 2007.
The officers who arrested him suspected him of either being an athlete taking the drug in order to enhance performance or someone engaged in smuggling prohibited substances into Russia and then reselling them to the black market.
They also referred to him in the gender assigned at birth, calling him “your daughter” when informing his mother.
If proven guilty, he could be facing a sentence of being locked up in jail between three and seven years plus a fine of up to one million roubles.
Transgender rights in Russia
Transgender rights advocates decried Vadislav’s arrest and the suit filed against him.
Trans Coalition, a transgender activist group, said, “The criminal prosecution of a trans person who needs medical care is inhumane and inadequate to international legal norms.”
The existing process of legally changing gender in Russia is lengthy and stressful. Experts believed that this is the reason why 50 percent of transgender Russians are rejected from jobs.
For example, a study by the group Pravo Trans revealed that many employers hesitated hiring transgender workers as their gender identity might cause issues during inspection.
The study also found that 62 percent of the respondents didn’t look for a job, 41 percent avoid seeking health care or seeing a doctor, and 34 percent chose not to go school due to fear of potential discrimination.
However, an order signed by the Ministry of Health last January 22 would establish easier legal gender recognition procedures for transgender Russians.