New Russian bill will control sex reassignment surgeries

gosdumaA bill aimed at controlling plastic surgery, including sex reassignment surgery (SRS), was developed by members of Russian Communist Party, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. The authors call for the creation of a registry of people who changed their appearance, including perceived gender, and other parts of the body. The registry may contain photos of the person before and after operation, description of body modifications and even reasons for them. The surgeons who conceal the fact of operations will have to pay a fine of 300,000 rubles (~ 8,300 USD), and in case their patient commits a crime, they may go to jail for five years. The bill will be introduced into the State Duma in May.

The bill is intended against escaping punishment by criminals and is in line with recent so called anti-terrorist laws, infamous for their violation of human rights. This bill is no exception, as it clearly violates the right of patients for privacy. It may serve as a limiting factor for patients to seek operations and for surgeons to perform them. When speaking about trans* people, the law will make their transition even more complicated than it is now, as the operations will likely become less available and more expensive. Although the registry is intended to be for Ministry's of Internal Affairs use only, misuse or leaks of this information may result in outing and possible blackmailing of trans* people, who underwent surgery and are not out about their status.

On the whole, the proposed bill may lead some trans* people to postpone their physical transition and/or perform it abroad. In Russia, there's no explicit law on legal gender recognition, but a performed genital surgery is a requirement in most court cases (with an insignificant number of exceptions). This means that the bill will not only decrease availability of surgeries, but also restrict trans* people's access to legal recognition in their preferred gender.