Russia bans transsexuals from driving

Russia Putin
Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

Russian authorities have brought in bizarre new legislation, which will see transsexual and transgender motorists, amongst others, banned from driving.

The new Russian rules target those with 'mental disorders', which under the country's fiercely intolerant laws includes transsexual people. Also affected are those who are deemed to exhibit fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism, the BBC reports.

Unsurprisingly, psychiatrists and human rights activists in the country have been quick to oppose the move, calling the new law "discriminatory".

Medical professionals are concerned that those with potential mental health problems will avoid seeking help for fear of being slapped with a driving ban, and that the draconian legislation would disadvantage people whose conditions do not impact their ability to drive.

However, Russia's Professional Drivers Union is in support of the move. Its chief, Alexander Kotov, told the BBC: "We have too many deaths on the road, and I believe toughening medical requirements for applicants is fully justified."

Treatment of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community in Russia has taken a turn for the worse since 2013, when Russia passed a law making the promotion of "non-traditional" lifestyles illegal.

This effectively criminalised any public displays of homosexual relationships and has led to an increase in the number of homophobic attacks and other related crimes.

However, due to the non-specific nature of the new driving legislation, a wider range of people that the state finds undesirable will be affected, including "pathological" gamblers and compulsive thieves.