Driving While Transgender Just Became a Crime in Russia

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Russian government has doubled down on its discrimination against LGBT people. Now, in addition to its "LGBT propaganda" law, the country will no longer allow transgender people to obtain driver's licenses. 

The move has been touted as part of an effort to reduce driving accidents, the BBC reports. Officials say road accidents have been on the rise and that "mental disorders" are to blame; that includes fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, compulsive gambling and stealing. In response, they've decided to strengthen what they've determined are medical factors precluding individuals from driving. 

Of course the law is based on one huge lie. What Russian officials fail to understand or choose to ignore is the same thing medical experts have been saying for some time now: Being transgender is not a mental disorder

The official decree was made public this week after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed it on Dec. 29, according to Time. The restriction effectively adds a whole new layer of bigotry to the list of indignities LGBT people in the country already have to endure. 

Unfortunately, these measures dovetail with an increasingly hostile climate for LGBT Russians.

According to a June 2014 report from Human Rights Watch, the adoption of laws sanctioning "LGBT propaganda" has coincided with a spread of violence and harassment against LGBT people. The organization also cited an anonymous survey conducted by the Russian LGBT Network, which highlighted issues of discrimination during 2013. More than 50% of the survey's respondents said that they endured psychological abuse, and as many as 15% said they'd been physically attacked. In addition, the group Occupy Pedophilia has released multiple disturbing videos in which they assault or torture LGBT people, some of whom they kidnapped. 

As for the new anti-trans driving restriction, the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights called it "discriminatory" while Russian psychiatric expert Mikhail Strakhov told the BBC that the definition of "personality disorders" was too vague, and some disorders wouldn't prevent a person's ability to drive safely. 

Not allowing transgender people to obtain drivers licenses is more than a dangerous restriction on basic civil rights, however. It also sends the very clear message that the Russian government thinks this community does not deserve the respect and dignity afforded to their cisgender peers. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Derrick Clifton

A reporter, news commentator and speaker on issues of identity, culture and social justice, Derrick is a graduate of Northwestern University. Web: derrickclifton.com

MORE FROM

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.

Lonzo Ball gets drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and LaVar Ball gets exactly what he wanted

LaVar Ball has officially spoken it into existence.

10 things you might have recently missed in the movement for social justice

From Charleena Lyles and Nabra Hassanen to acquittals and vigils, the last few days haven't been easy to keep up with.

Judge declares mistrial in retrial of officer who fatally shot Samuel DuBose

The jury spent five days deliberating Ray Tensing's fate.

University of Missouri to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degree

The president of Mizzou said Cosby's actions were not in line with the university's core beliefs.

The Movement for Black Lives responds to recent claims of a fractured coalition

"We make no assumptions that everyone and everything within our movement is perfect — far from it," organizers said.

White Americans more likely to own guns, blacks more likely know someone who has been shot: study

New research reveals startling stats about the relationship African-Americans have with guns.

Lonzo Ball gets drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and LaVar Ball gets exactly what he wanted

LaVar Ball has officially spoken it into existence.