Russian road safety regulations
announced last week bar transgender people from driving.
The regulations prohibit transsexuals,
transvestites and others with sexual “disorders” from getting
behind the wheel of a car, supposedly for medical reasons, the AP
Nils Muiznieks, human rights
commissioner for the Council of Europe, criticized the rules and
called on Russia to immediately repeal them.
“The new Russian rules banning people
from driving because of their gender are ridiculous and unlawful,”
he said Friday in a Facebook post.
Authorities based in part their
regulations on “mental and behavioral disorders” defined by the
World Health Organization (WHO).
A WHO spokesperson told the AP that it
had not endorsed this use of its classifications.
“That is certainly not the intent of
WHO's classifications,” said Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's
mental health department.
Saxena said that the classifications
were meant to provide uniform diagnoses around the globe.
WHO is expected to revise its
International Classification of Diseases in 2017.
Shawn Gaylord of Human
Rights First said the “provision may deter transgender people
from seeking mental health services for fear of receiving a diagnosis
that would strip them of their right to drive, and leaves the door
open for increased harassment, persecution, and discrimination of
transgender people by Russian authorities.”
“We urge the United States to
immediately condemn this provision and to press the Russian
government to repeal this decision,” he added.
The new rule “will allow authorities
to deny or rescind the driver's license of a citizen based on his or
her diagnosis as transgender, bigender, asexual or as a
cross-dresser,” according to Human Rights First.