Vladimir Putin bans gender changes in Russia

Russian premier Vladimir Putin's popularity at home and abroad is faltering as his bogged-down invasion of Ukraine drags into a second year and the county's economy goes from weakness to weakness. But he has a knack for what Western reactionaries like, such as ostentatiously sticking it to the LGBTQ community: he signed a law prohibiting gender-affirming surgery and administrative gender changes in Russia yesterday.

The act, passed unanimously by both houses of parliament, bans any "medical interventions aimed at changing the sex of a person", as well as banning changing a person's gender in official documents or public records. The only exception will be medical intervention to treat congenital anomalies. It also annuls marriages in which one person has "changed gender" and bars transgender people from becoming foster or adoptive parents. The ban is said to stem from the Kremlin's crusade to protect what it views as the country's "traditional values". Lawmakers say the legislation is to safeguard Russia against "western anti-family ideology", with some describing gender transitioning as "pure satanism". Russia's crackdown on LGBTQ+ people started a decade ago when the president first proclaimed a focus on "traditional family values", supported by the Russian Orthodox church.

It might not please parents (or grandparents) who'll never see their sons again, but at least Ron DeSantis and J.K. Rowling have some international backing for their culture wars.