Skip to main content
  • Share to or

‘Let this be my protest’ Yulia Alyoshina, Russia’s first openly trans politician, has decided to run for Altay governorship

Source: Meduza

In September 2023, Russia’s Altay region will hold gubernatorial elections. Yulia Alyoshina, Russia’s first transgender politician, plans to run for governor. She was the head of the Altay regional division of the Civic Initiative party, but resigned in 2022 following Russia’s passage of new laws against “LGBT propaganda.” Nonetheless, the party’s regional branch suggested that she run in this year’s elections. Alyoshina spoke to Novaya Gazeta Europe about why she’s running. Meduza summarizes the conversation in English.

Yulia Alyoshina says she didn’t expect anyone in the Civic Initiative party to suggest that she run in the gubernatorial elections. But she figured “well, why not” and agreed. “I’m sure that the fact that I was born in a different body is not as important to voters as my honesty, integrity, and sincere desire to make my native land better,” she told Novaya Gazeta Europe. She added that the party will make a final decision about her candidacy after discussions within the party and with municipal deputies.

“I’m keenly aware that I cannot become governor in the current situation. But let this be my protest,” says Alyoshina.

She plans to build protections for the LGBTQ+ community into several points of her platform. But, she adds, “I don’t think it’s right to focus the platform only on [those issues], since there are a number of other issues in the economic, social, and legal spheres.”

Alyoshina equivocated about the Russia-Ukraine war, saying “That’s the federal agenda, it’s not within the purview of a governor.” 

On the topic of Russian society’s relationship to transgender people, Alyoshina says the current climate is quite bad. She described losing supporters after the Russian federal government passed anti-LGBTQ+ laws in 2022. She thinks people have been influenced by the authorities’ rhetoric on “LGBT propaganda.”

Russia’s transition ban

‘They’re taking our futures away’ Transgender Russians on what Moscow’s coming ban on medical and legal transitions will mean for them

Russia’s transition ban

‘They’re taking our futures away’ Transgender Russians on what Moscow’s coming ban on medical and legal transitions will mean for them

Alyoshina’s medical transition took about a year and a half. There were no private clinics in her region where should could go for gender care services, so she was seen at a state psychiatric hospital. It took another year and a half after she was first seen to get a certificate for changing gender markers [on legal documents].

This week, the State Duma approved a draft bill that would, if it is signed into law, ban gender affirming surgery, hormone therapy, and changing gender markers on legal documents. Alyoshina said that she’s “in state of stress and shock” about the bill, and that it’s difficult to speak about the issue. “I would like to say that it’s not only that this bill is discriminatory. It also restricts trans people’s right to medical care. [The Russian] authorities have taken the most disenfranchised group and decided to limit its rights first. But [the process] could continue. Restrictions on medical care may spread beyond us to various parts of Russian society.”

“We’ll need to think about emigration,” she added.

In January 2023, the Russian authorities outlawed Meduza, designating our media outlet as an “undesirable organization.” In other words, our newsroom’s work is now completely banned in the country our founders call home. And Russian nationals who support Meduza can face criminal prosecution. Today, Meduza’s need for support from people across the globe — from readers like you — has never been more important. Please, support our work.

  • Share to or