Russian lawyers have attacked draconian new road safety laws that ban transsexuals from receiving driving licences.
In a bizarre amendment to the law published on Thursday, transsexualism and transvestism and are named as health conditions that could prove dangerous to drivers.
The new rules are listed in a decree on road safety signed by Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister, which is aimed at reducing fatalities from traffic accidents by banning those with certain disabilities from driving.
Groups now barred from driving include limb amputees, those with hereditary eye diseases, and people shorter than 150cm (4'9").
Also barred are those suffering from what the law calls “personality and behaviour disorders,” including “disorders of sexual preference.”
Fetishism, exhibitionism, and voyuerism are also on the list of proclivities deemed unsafe on the roads, as are “disorders” associated with sexual development and orientation.
And the new law does not only target sexual vices. Gambling addicts and kleptomaniacs - or compulsive stealers - may also be denied licences.
The law does not describe how an individual’s sexual preference might impede their ability to drive safely.
Nor is it clear how the laws would be enforced.
But a Russian lawyers organisation has warned that if taken literally it would allow the authorities to intrude into individual’s private lives and even open the way for “denunciations” of genderqueer individuals to the police.
The Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights warned that the law effectively bans “all transgender people, bigender, asexuals, transvestites, cross-dressers, and people who need sex reassignment” from driving.
The group also condemned the decree for making no exception for modern prophetic limbs or customised vehicles that can allow amputees and people shorter than 150 cm to drive safely.
Yelena Masyuk, a member of the official committee that advises Vladimir Putin on human rights, said stripping people of the right to drive based on their gender identity may represent “an injustice.”
The “disorders” are drawn from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) list of personality and behavioural disorders. The WHO has said it intends to review the inclusion of transgenderism on its own list this year.