Russia feels that a transgender or a transsexual person suffers from “sexual disorders,” and is unfit to drive.
The Russian government has decided to disqualify anyone hoping to secure a driving license, if he or she “suffers” from alternative sexual orientation. Apparently, the country feels such people make driving unsafe on Russia’s roads. The country has also included fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and other “neurotic, stress-related” issues as types of “mental disorders” that can get you banned from driving in Russia.
As per official clarification, the government says it is tightening “medical controls” for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. Medical conditions that can prevent you from procuring a driving license also include “pathological” gambling and compulsive stealing. The announcement happened despite rising international complaints about Russian harassment of gay rights activists.
As expected, Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have strongly condemned the move, but as is the norm, Russia seems to have completely ignored the same and gone ahead with the implementation of the offensive laws. Russia is quite infamous for imposing culturally restrictive regulations that bear down heavily on personal choice and sexual orientation. In 2013, Russia even made “promoting non-traditional lifestyles” illegal and liable for severe financial penalties.
How will Russia impose a ban on people with these “sexual disorders”? Valery Evtushenko at the Russian Psychiatric Association voiced his concern about the driving restrictions. He feared many people would avoid seeking psychiatric help, fearing a driving ban.
Though there are no clear tests that legally determine the sexual orientation, other countries routinely conduct humiliating and painful tests to check for the same. Homosexuality is surprisingly illegal in some parts of the world. Though, few countries base the legality on physical attributes rather than the mental state of preference.
The Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights labeled the new law as “discriminatory.” It shared it would demand immediate clarifications from the Russian Constitutional Court and seek support from international human rights organizations to get such atrocious ban lifted or relaxed.
Shockingly though, the Professional Drivers Union has lent its support to the move. Speaking about the ban, union’s head Alexander Kotov said, “We have too many deaths on the road, and I believe toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified.”
However, not only did he fail to clarify how one’s sexual orientation posed a hazard, he added the requirements should not be so strict for non-professional drivers. In other words, as long as “these drivers” didn’t drive taxis, the union leader wasn’t concerned about their sexual orientation or other “sexual and mental disorders.”
It is quite apparent that the definition of “personality disorders” was too vague, and the majority of the disorders would certainly not affect a person’s ability to drive a car safely. However, Russia strongly feels differently.
[Image Credit | Seattle 99, 56 Parallel]