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Russia to amend law allowing gender change on ID papers

An ability to change gender in a passport goes against national “constitutional priorities,” the justice minister has said

The Russian Ministry of Justice is to review national legislation in order to ban the changing of one’s gender in passports and other ID documents, ministry chief Konstantin Chuychenko told TASS on Monday. The existing practice of gender-changing on documents creates legal collisions and doesn’t fit Russia’s “basic principles” in national policy or “constitutional priorities,” he explained.

Russia permitted gender change in 1997. In 2018, a mechanism was created that allowed a person to change their gender at will in any identity papers. Currently, one has to provide a simple clearance certificate from a medical institution to request such a document change. According to Chuychenko, a person does not need to go through gender-reassignment surgery to legally change gender in any documents.

Between 2018 and 2022, a total of 2,700 cases of legal gender-changes were registered in Russia, according to Chuychenko. In 190 cases, persons who’d legally changed their gender then officially registered a marriage in Russia, he added. Russian legislation does not allow same-sex marriages.


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“We thus see the following: a person who changed their gender in a passport but remained physically the same, can register marriage, adopt children…” the minister told TASS in an interview, adding that legal conflicts also arise over the age at which such a person should be entitled to retirement benefits, or over what type of a penitentiary facility they should be placed in if sentenced for an offense.

“We are dealing not just with some legal collisions linked to gender change but inconformity with the current conceptual [policy] documents and constitutional priorities,” Chuychenko said. He did not elaborate on when proposed changes to the legislation would be prepared by his ministry or when they might come into force.

Constitutional amendments passed in 2020 after a nationwide referendum included a specific clause committing the state to protecting “the institution of marriage as a union of a man and a woman.”


April 24, 2023 at 09:12PM

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