Russia’s first transgender politician reveals she was forced to announce her detransition — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Russia’s first transgender politician reveals she was forced to announce her detransition

Yulia Alyoshina. Photo: social media

Yulia Alyoshina. Photo: social media

The first openly transgender politician in Russia has described how the Russian authorities threatened to commit her to a psychiatric hospital unless she detransitioned, Novaya Gazeta Baltic reported on Tuesday.

Yulia Alyoshina, who headed the opposition Civic Initiative party in Siberia’s Altai region until 2022, announced on her Telegram channel in May that she had returned to her gender assigned at birth and changed her channel’s name to “Alyoshin”, the male version of her surname.

“I went through my relatives’ photo albums and prayed for them, and it helped me realise that I am a guy,” Alyoshina wrote in a post in which she also apologised “to all the Russian people”.

However, in an interview with Novaya Gazeta Baltic, Alyoshina said she had written her Telegram posts in a state of “extreme stress” after she found out that the Russian authorities planned to send her to a psychiatric hospital.

Alyoshina transitioned in 2020, three years before Vladimir Putin signed a law banning gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for transgender people and making it impossible for an individual to change their gender in official documents.

Alyoshina said she had still not changed her gender back to male in her official documents despite the threats she received. She also said she had gone to the Russian Orthodox Church in the hope of finding “help and acceptance”, but faced “disgusting” treatment there instead.

While Alyoshina quit her position in the Civic Initiative party in 2022 following Russian lawmakers banning “LGBT propaganda”, she had planned to run in the Altai region’s gubernatorial election in 2023, but withdrew her candidacy after the law banning gender transition came into effect.

After the Russian Supreme Court deemed the “international LGBT movement” an “extremist organisation” in November, Alyoshina addressed the court asking the judges whether it was possible for her “to exist in Russian society as a trans person”, but they declined to respond.

“I’m at a point where I don’t have much to lose anymore,” Alyoshina told Novaya Gazeta Baltic. “Of course, I can force myself to become Roman,” she said, referring to her birth name, “but I’d be going against my heart”.

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