Russian government bans transgender people from driving

New rules also target people with mental health issues

Jon Stone
Friday 09 January 2015 11:14
Traffic in Moscow
Traffic in Moscow

Transgender people will be banned from driving cars in Russia, after the country’s government announced they would no longer be able to qualify for driving licences.

The Russian Government characterised people who change their gender as having a “disorder” and styled the ban as part of a crackdown on people with mental health issues.

People with sexual fetishes, including exhibitionism and voyeurism, have also been included on the driving ban list, BBC News reports.

They have been listed alongside gambling addicts and compulsive thieves, who are also banned from getting behind the wheel.

The Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights said the new law was “discriminatory” and unconstitutional.

The change would “cause the serious violations of human rights, the decision demonstrates the prejudice against the groups of citizens” a statement on the rights group’s website said.

“The decision demonstrates the invasion of the privacy of each person who plans to drive a vehicle, the resolution discriminates the individuals and the groups of citizens, obviously contradicts the international legal norms and standards,[and] the Constitution the Russian Federation,” it added.

The ban also affects people who wear clothes designed for the opposite sex. The group pointed out that some popular Russian entertainers would be affected by the ban.

Russia has a poor record when it comes to LGBT rights.

In 2013 the country’s government made “promoting non-traditional lifestyles” illegal. The Russian state defines lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as “non-traditional”.

A spate of activists have been arrested since the law came into force; gay people continue to face harassment by authorities, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

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