To Improve Traffic Safety, Russia Says Transgender People No Longer Qualify for Licenses January 10, 2015

To Improve Traffic Safety, Russia Says Transgender People No Longer Qualify for Licenses

We’re used to hearing the LGBT community blamed for a lot of things.

An earthquake strikes? Some pious bigot will invoke God’s wrath against homosexuals.

Birds die? A True Believer will clue you into it being gay people wanting marriage rights that did it.

Hurricane Katrina? There’s a homophobe waiting to remind you: gay parade, duh.

Volcanic eruptions? Yeah, still gay people.

Ebola? Also gay people.

9/11? Also, apparently, the fault of LGBT people, according to some bloviating believers.

There are many more examples where those came from. In fact, there’s not much that gets attributed to LGBT folks that surprises me anymore, no matter how absurd. But, I have to admit, Russia managed to find one.

Traffic accidents.

Yeah, for real (I wish I was joking). According to the Russian government, transgender and transsexual people suffer from disorders that contribute to high accident rates.

Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences.

Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving.

The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents.

It should be noted that the Russian Psychiatric Association and the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Right have both criticized the law.

The country’s prevailing mood seems to be distinctly anti-LGBT, however. Since the 2013 passage of a law that outlawed the promotion of “non-traditional lifestyles” in front of minors, the country has seen a wave of homophobic sentiments — and crimes. Justification for these measures and sentiments are often framed as a desire to “protect” children, but there is a heavy religious element intertwined. One of the 2013 law’s chief proponents, for instance, is

… Vitaly Milonov, a local deputy whose office at the palatial City Hall is filled with religious paraphernalia. Russian icons cover the walls and shelves beside a black flag bearing a skull and cross-bones. Another black banner proclaims “Orthodoxy or Death” in Greek.

Mr Milonov justifies the [2013] law with reference to Russia’s traditional, Christian values. He insists that homosexuality is a sin and homosexuals an enemy within, backed by a perverted West.

The ban on transgender drivers is absurd, as being trans- or otherwise gendered has no bearing on driving ability. In targeting people’s gender and sex lives, the government is cracking down on those who act in ways it deems immoral — not on potentially dangerous drivers. But, unfortunately, pious moralizers, homophobes, and transphobes rarely seem to let appearing absurd dissuade them from their bigoted business…

(Image via Shutterstock)

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