The architect of Russia’s anti-LGBTQ propaganda law has a new mission: to keep transgender people out of his country.
Vitaly Milonov, a legislator in the Russian Duma, told the political newspaper Parlamentskaya Gazeta that trans people whose passports have been updated to match their gender identity should not be allowed to visit Russia. Milonov claimed that if a transgender man, for instance, has an “M” listed on his travel documents, that does not “correspond to reality.”
Milonov, who would rather just ban transgender people altogether, has a solution: Trans travelers to Russia should be outed.
“You can stamp their passport to state that this person is transgender or has completely changed their sex,” said Milonov, who is currently drafting legislation to prevent trans individuals from changing the gender identity listed on their official documentation. “What is more, it will say their real name and surname, so it is clear that this is not a woman but a man.”
“Any pupil in any class knows that you should not change what nature has given you. It is necessary to strip the license from doctors who carry out such operations,” he added.
The lawmaker has previously moved to ban transgender people from marrying their same-sex partners, which is technically legal under Russian law. The notoriously homophobic country prohibits two people of the same sex from marrying, but if a transgender woman is listed as “male” on her birth certificate, she would be allowed to marry another woman. Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova wed in 2015 under this loophole.
The 43-year-old is one of the loudest and most influential voices against LGBTQ rights in Russia.
Prior to serving in the Russian legislature, he pushed a law banning the spread of information about “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors as a member of the St. Petersburg City Council. That law, passed in 2012, led to the enactment of a nearly identical bill at the federal level the following year.
The passage of Russia’s anti-LGBTQ propaganda law has led to a total crackdown on queer life, as well as a surge in hate crimes. Milonov has responded to reports detailing the increasing violence against LGBTQ people as “foolish” and “fake.”
“I think that much violence goes from gay people to straight people,” he said in 2013. “Much more violence.”
Milonov has spent the years since fighting LGBTQ equality at every turn. He accused musicians Lady Gaga and Madonna of illegally promoting equal rights during their concerts in the Orthodox country. The lawmaker claimed that he threw out his iPhone after openly gay Tim Cook was appointed CEO of Apple, saying that his device was “smelling with gay stuff.” He even threatened to shut down gay clubs in Russia after a lesbian couple photobombed him last year.
The legislator’s most recent comments were made in response to recommendations from the British Foreign Office that suggested the U.N. adopt gender-neutral and trans-inclusive language in regards to foreign travelers. The United Kingdom suggested the phrase “pregnant people” instead of “women” to describe expectant mothers.
“Only women can be pregnant,” Milonov said in response. “There should not be pregnant men.”