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By Noah Rayman
January 8, 2015

A new Russian law supposedly aimed at curbing the country’s high rates of traffic accidents effectively bans transgender people from obtaining driver’s licenses.

An official decree published this week, after having been signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Dec. 29, provides a list of illnesses that disqualify people from operating motor vehicles and includes gender identity disorders.

The law published Thursday does not explicitly ban transgender people. Instead, it singles out those with “personality and behavior disorders” by referencing a section of the International Classification of Diseases, published by the World Health Organization, which includes gender identity and behavior disorders like “pathological” gambling and fetishism.

The decree drew quick condemnation from the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights. “The decision of Russian Government will cause the serious violations of human rights,” the organization said in a statement. “The decision demonstrates the prejudice against the groups of citizens.”

Russia has come under frequent scrutiny for its LGBT rights record, including its crackdown on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

—Simon Shuster contributed reporting from Berlin

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