Lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) persons in the Russian Federation are ensured the full protection under state constitution, although the traditional definition of marriage has been upheld. As of 2008 (when Men who have sex with men were finally allowed to donate blood), Russia has no criminal law on federal level directed at LGBT people, but since male homosexual acts were decriminalized in 1993, there are no laws protecting against discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, local legislature of Ryazan region legislatively prohibited propaganda of homosexuality among minors and established fines for that administrative offense. A similar law was passed in Arkhangelsk region in September 2011.
In November 2011 a similar law was also adopted at first reading by the legislature of Saint Petersburg (in case of Saint-Petersburg the adopted law imposed a ban on "propaganda" of homosexualism, bisexualism, transgenderism and pedophilia, while lacking the exact and unambiguous definition of what exactly should be considered "propaganda" and what, for example, an educational material and missing any explanation why pedophilia is virtually equalized with the first three non-criminal even according to Russian law types of sexuality). Russian media reported that further readings of this law in Saint-Petersburg were postponed to "clarify some definitions". Finally, the law was approved by the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg, signed by city's governor and took effect on 30 March 2012. According to Russian media, a similar regional law is being drafted in Moscow city legislature and according to Federation Council of Russia speaker Valentina Matviyenko such ban on "propaganda of homosexualism" might also be adopted on federal level in order to "protect the children from destructive influence". In June 2012, Moscow courts enacted a hundred-year ban on gay pride parades.
A similar ban on "propaganda" of homosexualism, bisexualism, transgenderism and pedophilia was also approved in Kostroma Oblast, which took effect on 28 February 2012.
Current situation 
Public opinion about LGBT topics and people tends to be negative: according to 2005 poll, 43.5% of Russians support re-criminalization of homosexual acts between consensual adults; at the same time, 42.8% of Russians support a legal ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There is a visible LGBT community network, mostly in major cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg, including nightclubs and political organizations.
Same-sex marriages are not allowed in Russia. At a press conference, head of the Moscow Registry Office Irina Muravyova declared: "Attempts by same-sex couples to marry both in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia are doomed to fail. We live in a civil society, we are guided by the federal law, [and] by the Constitution that clearly says: marriage in Russia is between a man and a woman. Such a marriage [same-sex] cannot be contracted in Russia."
Transgender issues 
In Tsarist Russia, young women would sometimes pose as men or act like tomboys. This was often tolerated among the educated middle classes, with the assumption that such behavior was asexual and would stop when the girl married. However, cross-dressing was widely seen as immoral behavior, punishable by the Church and later the government.
In Soviet Russia, sex change operations were first tried during the 1920s but became prohibited until the 1960s, when they were often done by Russian endocrinologist Aron Belkin, who was something of an advocate for transgender people until his death in 2003.
Bans on "homosexual propaganda" 
Since 2006, ten regions have enacted a ban on so-called "propaganda of homosexualism among minors". The laws of nine of them include administrative sanctions and/or fines. Some bans also forbid so-called "propaganda of bisexualism and transgenderism". As of May 2013 these regions are:
- Ryazan Oblast - since April 22, 2006
- Arkhangelsk Oblast - since October 22, 2011
- Kostroma Oblast - since February 28, 2012
- Saint Petersburg - since March 30, 2012
- Magadan Oblast - since June 30, 2012
- Novosibirsk Oblast - since July 3, 2012
- Krasnodar Krai - since July 19, 2012
- Samara Oblast - since July 22, 2012
- Bashkortostan - since August 5, 2012. Note: Bashkortostan is the only region where the law does not include any kind of administrative sanctions or fines.
- Kaliningrad Oblast - since February 19, 2013. The bill bans "propaganda of homosexualism" not only among minors, but among the population in general.
Legislative bans on propaganda of LGBT in Russian regions
Summary table 
|| (since 27 May 1993)
|Equal age of consent
|| (since 27 May 1993)[note 3]
|Anti-discrimination laws in any area
|| (authorities refuse to recognize the need in special legislation)
|Recognition of same-sex couples as de facto couples or civil partnerships
|| (no recognition)
|Joint and/or step adoption by same-sex couples
|| (only married couples allowed to adopt)[note 2]
|Adoption by single homosexual people
|| (no legal restrictions based on sexual orientation for single people to adopt)[note 2]
|Gays allowed to serve openly in the military
|| (gay people can theoretically serve in the military, but they are strongly advised to hide their homosexuality for the sake of their personal safety)
|Right to change legal gender
|| (since 15 November 1997)[note 1]
|MSMs allowed to donate blood
|| (since 16 April 2008)
|Right to speak publicly
|| (currently in discussion by political leaders; some regions have enacted legislation banning "propaganda" of homosexuality)
See also 
- ^ a b c The Federal Law On Acts of Civil Status (1997) provides for the possibility to rectify acts of civil status based on the document confirming sex transformation issued by a health institution (art.70). Also, transgender people can change their passport on the grounds of sex transformation. See the Administrative Legislation section of the Russian LGBT Network 2009 Report.
- ^ a b c d Adoption is being regulated by the Civil Procedure Code of Russia (Chapter 29); Family Code of Russia (Chapter 19); Federal Law On Acts of Civil Status (Chapter V). None of these documents contain any direct restriction or ban for homosexual people to adopt, though unmarried couples are not allowed to adopt children (Article 127.2 of the Family Code of Russia), and since same-sex marriage is not officially recognized, gay couples cannot adopt children together; nevertheless, single individuals can adopt (see also the Parent Relations section of the Russian LGBT Network 2009 Report). The Court makes the decision to allow or deny adoption considering many documents and testimonies, so it is unclear whether LGBT affiliation of the candidate adopter can be in fact an issue for a judge to make a negative decision.
- ^ The age of consent for homosexual acts was never specifically mentioned in the old Criminal Code of RSFSR, which was replaced with the new Criminal Code of Russia in 1996, and this new Code mentions the age of consent regardless of sexual orientation in Article 134.
Sources with multiple references 
External links