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Putin orders research into ‘social behavior’ of LGBT people, sparking speculation about conversion therapy
Vladimir Putin has instructed Russia’s Health Ministry to create an institute to study the “social behavior” of LGBT people within the state-run Serbsky Psychiatric Center, the independent outlet iStories reported on Thursday, citing a response given by Health Minister Mikhail Murashko during the first reading of the State Duma’s bill to ban legal gender changes and gender-affirming healthcare.
Murashko’s statement came after lawmaker Anatoly Wasserman asked him whether the Health Ministry is conducting any research into “psychiatric methods of bringing these notions [about gender roles and sexuality] in line with reality.”
The LGBTQ+ health website Parni Plus (“Guys Plus”) called Murashko’s words confirmation that the Russian authorities could begin conducting “conversion therapy,” which refers to a range of pseudo-scientific practices intended to change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, and which the UN has said can amount to torture.
According to the LGBTQ+ crisis group SK SOS, the number of institutions practicing conversion therapy is on the rise. People who have undergone “treatment” at these centers have described being beaten, starved, and hung by handcuffed wrists.
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