Yulia Savinovskikh, a 40-year-old mother in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, was born a woman. Her passport says she’s a woman. She is married to a man, has never had sex-reassignment surgery, and publicly insists she is a woman.
This evidence of her gender, however, was not enough to convince a local court, which this month rejected her bid to have two foster children returned to her care. The court concluded Savinovskikh wants to be a man, noting that Russia doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.
The bizarre case, which grabbed national headlines after child-protective services removed the boys from the home of Savinovskikh and her husband in August, comes amid what rights activists call mounting discrimination against Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in recent years.
A report by the Public Chamber, a Kremlin-appointed oversight body, also found that social services feared a possible sex change by Savinovskikh could impede a “traditional” moral upbringing for the children.
A February 5 ruling by a Yekaterinburg court rejecting Savinovskikh’s bid to have the boys returned to her, whom she and her husband were preparing to adopt, appeared to confirm that finding. Read more via Radio Free Europe