Far-right media figures and online personalities championed a now-passed Russian bill that bans gender-affirming care for trans people of any age, eliminates the ability to legally change gender on government documents, bars trans people from adopting or fostering children, and retroactively annuls the marriages of anyone who legally changes their gender.
The Russian lower house passed the bill on July 13, and the reaction was swift, with the most malicious opponents of gender-affirming care in U.S. right-wing media celebrating its first step toward becoming a law.
On his July 17 podcast, The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh — who has explicitly called for the criminalization of all gender-affirming care and said doctors providing gender-affirming care should be executed — said the Russian bill was “exactly the correct thing to do” and called for America to follow suit by making gender-affirming care “illegal for everyone.”
Also on July 17, Michael Knowles said on his own Daily Wire show that the law revealed Russia had “greater moral clarity” than America and that “the Russians have it right,” accusing the U.S. of “enshrining sexual decadence.”
Putin’s escalating war on LGBTQ people continues to claim victims while conservatives in America applaud and call for similar oppression
Gender-affirming care for trans adults and youth has consistently been shown to reduce both depression and substance abuse. Previously under Russian law, trans people seeking gender-affirming care or legal recognition of their gender had to go through “a challenging process involving a specialized medical commission only available in major cities like Moscow.”
At the end of May, members of Russia’s lower house of parliament introduced a bill banning all gender-affirming care and any changes to gender on government documents. As with many U.S. bills targeting gender-affirming care, it exempts nonconsensual surgeries performed on intersex children. Before the bill was passed, members of parliament made additions to the bill that will also annul the marriages of trans people and ban trans people from adopting or fostering children.
The threat of the bill passing was enough to force Russia’s first openly trans politician to drop out of a gubernatorial race after would-be supporters cited threats posed by the law in withdrawing their support for her candidacy. Although the head of Russia’s health ministry condemned the bill, Russia’s lower house passed the legislation on July 13.
In the U.S., Putin’s signature prompted additional shows of support from Project Veritas communications director Eric Spracklen — who responded to the news by saying “Putin gets it” — and from Oli London, the only spokesperson for Caitlyn Jenner’s anti-trans PAC who is not Caitlyn Jenner.
Michael Knowles also chimed in again, tweeting that he thought “the U.S. ced[ed] the moral high ground” to Russia and suggesting the authors of the law had “listened to [his] CPAC speech,” in which he said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”
Even though U.S. judges appointed by Democratic and Republican Presidents alike have declared such laws unconstitutional, 20 states now ban gender-affirming medical care for trans youth, a number that has quadrupled in just the past five months. Several states have proposed directly expanding those bans to adults, while defacto bans are already a reality for thousands of trans people living in Florida.