Russia is known for its extreme anti-homosexual policy. However, a new law is generating controversy within and outside the country. This week, the #Government
passed a law preventing people with "personality disorders" from driving. The bill, signed on 29th December by the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, empowers employees to prohibit transsexual, transgender and transvestite from driving. The goal of the legislation is to reduce road accidents.
The law, which aims to "promote the public health", is applied to people with gender identity and sexual orientation disorders, as well as those suffering from schizophrenia and emotional disorders. But the rules also apply to practitioners of fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, pathological gamblers and kleptomaniacs. Apparently, the bill should prevent people with mental disorders from driving in the country, in an effort to combat road accidents and reduce the number of deaths.
However, several Russian psychiatrists and human rights' lawyers are against this legislation. Speaking to BBC Russia, the psychiatrist Valery Evtushenko expressed concerns about the traffic restrictions. The expert said that this law may inhibit people from seeking psychiatric help, fearing a ban on driving. Mikhail Strakhov, another Russian psychiatric, said that the definition of "personality disorders" was too vague, noting that some would not affect a person's ability to drive a car safely. Also against this measure is the Russian Association of Lawyers for Human Rights, accusing the new law to be "discriminatory". The agency said it would request clarification from the Russian Constitutional Court and try to gather support from international human rights organizations.
On the other hand, the Professional Drivers Union, a Russian drivers union, supported the motion, stating that there are "too many deaths on the road." Alexander Kotov, union leader, says that "the medical requirements are fully justified" for professional drivers. However, the spokesman added that the requirements should not be so strict for non-professional drivers. It is recalled that in 2013, Russia banned the "promotion of non-traditional lifestyles", a measure directed to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (GLBT).