Yosef Phelan for GAY TIMES

Russian lawmakers have advanced a draft law that would ban transgender people from accessing gender-affirming surgeries.

Medical workers would be prohibited from “performing medical interventions designed to change the sex of a person” under the law – though there would be an exemption for treating congenital anomalies in minors.

Trans people would also be blocked from changing their gender identity on official documents or from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

Marriages in which one person has “changed gender” would be annulled.

The bill was unanimously approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in its second reading.

Its third and final reading has been scheduled for 14 July, according to the official Telegram channel of the State Duma.

READ MORE: Russian LGBTQ+ museum closes after new law bans ‘gay propaganda’

It must then be approved by the upper house of parliament before being signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

“This is a logical continuation of the repressive policies of the Russian government, not only against LGBTQI people, but against human rights, freedom of speech, and democracy,” Nef Cellarious of Vykhod, an LGBTQ+ rights group, told Reuters.

Russia’s ‘LGBT propaganda’ law now applies to all adults

Last year, President Vladimir Putin signed a law expanding Russia’s ‘LGBT propaganda’ restrictions to all adults.

The move effectively outlawed any public expression of LGBTQ+ behaviour or lifestyle in the country.

The original version of it was implemented in 2013 and put a ban on the promotion of all “non-traditional” sexual relationships among minors.

It has since been used as justification to stop Pride marches, prevent minors from watching content with LGBTQ+ themes and to detain activists.

READ MORE: Russia fines Google for refusing to remove LGBTQ+ content

Under the new legislation, which was signed into law by Putin on 5 December 2022, any event or act viewed as an attempt to “promote” homosexuality could result in a fine of up to 400,000 roubles (£5,400) for individuals and 4,000,000 roubles (£68,400) for legal entities.

Despite homosexuality being legal in Russia since 1993, LGBTQ+ people face ongoing societal challenges in the country.

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are not prohibited by law, and no anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ exist.