Russia’s ban on trans drivers ‘will trigger surge in LGBT hate crime across globe’

The ban on trans people from driving in Russia will ‘magnify discrimination’ of the LGBT community, according to a Manchester charity.  

The policy was introduced following the claim that trans people have a ‘sex disorder’ that affects their ability to drive safely and causes road accidents.

Manchester’s trans charity Sparkle branded the policy ‘ridiculous’ and ‘laughable’ and say the new law will create ‘hate effects’ in Russia and around the world.

Richard Fox, chairman of Sparkle, told MM: “It’s laughable that they think anybody on the transgender spectrum can’t drive.

“It’s laughable that transgender is quoted as a ‘sexual disorder’. That is just ridiculous and it shows a total lack of understanding of people on the trans-spectrum.

“The situation in Russia magnifies the discrimination that not just transgender people face, but the LGBT community. Obviously this law is absolutely wrong.

“It sends out the message to people in Russia and those outside of Russia that people can discriminate against the trans community and it will promote more discrimination and more hate effects in Russia and other countries.”

Psychiatrist Valery Evtushenko told the BBC that he fears some people will not seek essential psychiatric help because they fear a driving ban.

In 2013, the Russian government made it illegal to “promote non-traditional lifestyles” and there have been international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.

Despite the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights calling the new law “discriminatory”, Alexander Kotov, head of the Professional Drivers Union, supported the move.

He said: “We have too many deaths on the road, and I believe toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified.”

That view is not shared by Mr Fox who expressed his concerns about how transgender people will carry out their lives under these new restrictions.

He said: “The fact that they are not allowed to drive clearly affects their employment.

“If you can’t drive, it will probably be very difficult to get a job away from home.

“It’s just totally discriminatory against anyone who is trans.

“At the moment in Russia, there is very little hope under the current government and I hope that at some point it will change.

“We have a duty as a light thinking government to condemn all their actions, certainly this action and how they treat people and discriminate against the LGBT spectrum.

“We absolutely have to condemn them because in this instance it makes claims on medical grounds and restricts basic human rights.”     

The transgender community has found itself on a list with “Pathological gamblers” and compulsive stealers who will no longer qualify for driving licenses.

Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also listed as ‘mental disorders’.

Coming so soon after the transgender day of remembrance which took place in November last year, Mr Fox wants people to understand that transgender people should not be treated differently to anyone else.

He said:” I don’t think the events in Russia affect us directly in Manchester, but because it’s in the news, it basically says that there is something wrong with people on the trans-spectrum.

“Trans people are people. The only difference is simply how they express their gender and their identity.” 

Main image courtesy of Marco Fieber, with thanks.

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