Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki and Pexels
The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, has doubled down on his long-held anti-LGBTQ stance and compared the fight for trans rights to new strains of Coronavirus.
In a four-hour-long press conference, Putin was asked about his views on gender, with JK Rowling's views on the subject apparently coming up.
He said gender nonconformity and trans rights were like "new strains" of the pandemic as part of his answer.
"A woman is a woman, a man is a man"
The Washington Post reports that the question was asked by the state media organisation, RT, to which Putin maintained the idea of traditional gender roles and stereotypes.
"If someone thinks that women and men are the same thing, then be my guest. But there is common sense. I stick to the traditional approach that a woman is a woman, a man is a man, a mom is a mom, and a dad is a dad."
Turning to trans athletes, and possibly referring to the controversy over New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard competing in the Tokyo Olympics after transitioning Putin said if a man "declares himself a woman and decides to compete in weightlifting or some other sport, women’s sports would cease to exist altogether."
Disturbingly, he adds that "We can’t get away from it," and that we "We need to look for antidotes that are effective."
His stance doesn't come as a surprise given his and Russia's current anti-LGBTQ legislation. He's previously called acceptance of trans people "a crime against humanity".
Introduced in 2013, the still-active Russian federal law "for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values" effectively bans positive representation of LGBTQ life to minors.
Hungary introduced a similar law earlier this year.