Russia: Ministry of Health Approved the Legal Gender Recognition Procedure

On 22 January 2018, the Russian Ministry of Health’s order approving a form of medical certificate for change of trans persons’ gender marker, as well as a procedure for issuing such a certificate, was published. The order came into force on 2 February 2018. 

There has been no legally established legal gender recognition procedure in Russia for many years. According to the federal law, in order to change their gender marker, a trans person has to submit a “medical certificate on gender/sex change” to civil registry office. The duty to approve a form for this medical certificate was assigned to the Ministry of Health as long ago as in 1998, however, the Ministry has neglected this duty for twenty years. 

Many trans human rights organisations, including the Transgender Legal Defense Project, submitted to the Russian Ministry of Health their comments and proposals to amend the text of the draft.

Fortunately, most of the concerns have been addressed by the order’s drafters.

First, the order does not require a mandatory period for psychiatrist observation before legal gender recognition. Second, it neither require trans people to undergo any medical procedures, such as hormone replacement therapy or surgery, in order to get their gender marker changed. Third, it does not impose any restrictions on legal gender recognition for those trans people who are married or have underage children. Last but not least, according to the order, a referral to a medical board that establishes a person’s “sexual re-orientation” is to be issued if they are diagnosed with “transsexualism”. That makes the criteria for establishing a “sexual re-orientation” more transparent.

We welcome the adoption of the Ministry of Health’s order in its final version, and we believe that its entry into force will significantly improve the situation of trans people in Russia,” says Tatiana Glushkova, Transgender Legal Defense Project’s Legal Programme Coordinator, “The document establishes a transparent procedure for legal gender recognitionwhich would allow trans people to change their documentation without applying to court. In addition, the adoption of the order would bring the Russian legislation in accordance with the European Court of Human Rights’ case law.  Read more via pravo-trans