European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Russian Ministry of Health proposes sexologist offices in mental hospitals to address sexual orientation and gender identity

On 19 February, the Russian Ministry of Health published a new draft order that proposes amendments to the "Procedure for the provision of medical care in cases of mental and behavioral disorders." Practically, it proposes establishment of offices of sexologists and outlines their activities, equipment, and staff. The changes are presented by the Ministry as aimed at improving health care in the field of sexology. 

While the order could potentially improve access to legal gender recognition for trans persons, prospects of its implementation raise a number of concerns. In particular:

  • The draft proposes in-patient treatment in cases of gender identity disorders
  • The draft does not specify if the proposed procedures are replacing the existing practice of special medical commissions
  • The draft indicates that the proposed new offices would deal with “psychological and behavioral disorders that are related to sexual development and orientation”, including “health education, counseling and prevention work on the formation of children’s and adolescents’ sexuality, sex education and awareness”. It is unclear how this work can be carried out properly in the presence of the ‘propaganda’ legislation, which bans information and actions that may cause minors to “form non-traditional sexual predispositions”
  • Finally, given that trans-specific health care is absent from curricula of medical students, it is unclear what human resources the implementation of this orer would be supported with.

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