Transgender Pages from Russian Teen Health Book
Russian publishing house removed section on transgender people from Russian-language edition of health guide for teenage girls to avoid breaking Russian law, media reported Sunday.
The Belaya Vorona publishing house said it had received legal advice that it could face criminal charges if “Welcome to your rules!” – described as an inclusive and body-positive “essential menstruation manual” for girls aged 10-14 – was released in Russia as is.
“As the lawyers told us, there is law enforcement in practice and there is the law,” Belaya Vorona co-founder Tatiana Kormer told the Podyom news site.
“Then we were gladly told that if we publish it as is, then they will defend us pro bono. We thought about it and decided we’d rather be safe, ”Kormer added.
A photo shared by Podyom showed two blank pages with a warning saying “the publishing house is obliged to withhold the text in order to avoid charges of violating Russian law.”
Transgender people have long faced discrimination in Russia, including being classified as mentally ill and banned from driving. Activists accuse authorities of further marginalizing Russia’s LGBT community with laws aimed at enshrining a traditional understanding of the family and bolstering support for President Vladimir Putin after two decades in power.
Kormer said in posting “Welcome to your rules! – written by Australian journalist Yumi Stynes and practicing physician Melissa Kang – without a section on transgender people “was more important than keeping the information deleted”.
Podyom said the section on transgender people remained intact in the Ukrainian-language edition.
News of the omission follows Putin’s landmark speech last week, where he pitted Russia’s “reasonably conservative” values against the “monstrous” West which he says roots transgender in children.
“People who dare to say that men and women still exist as a biological fact are almost ostracized, ”Putin noted at the Valdai Annual Discussion Club last Thursday. “Not to mention the simply monstrous fact that children today learn from an early age that a boy can easily become a girl and vice versa.“
The omission also comes as Russian activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova faces criminal porn charges for posting positive body drawings of women with different body types, activists say case aims to silence activism LGBT and feminist.
Russian lawmakers drafted a bill banning transgender people from legally changing their sex last year, but withdrew it after a public outcry.
Its author was also the spearhead of the infamous Russian law of 2013 banning “gay propaganda” among minors.