Hey everyone Yesterday started like any other Saturday and it would probably have remained like that had I not read a very interesting and alarming article in the Independent which had been posted on facebook which had been posted by my good friend Sheryl Tracey.
The article states that Russian president Vladimir Putin has banned transgender people from driving. On reading this my emotions orbited between outrage and disbelief that anyone let alone a leader of one of the world’s most powerful nations could come up with such a half baked idea. It also makes me think that Mr Putin has finally lost it. The eccentric leader has branded trans people as having a mental disorder which makes them unfit to drive. Other disorders listed in this bizarre legislation include people with gambling and drug addictions How Mr Putin came up with this rather baffling and illogical list of conditions I really can’t begin to understand but he insists that banning trans people from the motorway will make Russian roads a safer place for other road users.
Personally I would have thought that roadworks would make the roads safer rather than the fact I choose to wear a gorgeous red dress or smart skirt suit. I would also think that banning drunk drivers may save more lives than my choice of lipstick or what colour I may or may not paint my nails.
Russia however is a very masculine society and transphobic and anti LGBT prejudices run deep so there is no doubt Putin is playing what he thinks is the populist card. This has worked for him in the past when he jailed the lesbian rock group Pussy Riot for simply being lesbian. However Putin’s account of this story would no doubt be slightly different, indeed he defended jailing the group by saying they were corrupting Russian youth.
As a transwoman let me say this loud and clear I have no intention of corrupting anyone I just want to enjoy being me. To me this decision seems not just to be on based prejudice but also on insanity. I am not the one who is experiencing mental health issues and believe me Mr Putin I think you may need to cut back on the vodka or you could end up as daft as your illustrious precedessor Boris Yeltsin. Come to think of it you may even end up as daft as London mayor Boris Johnston or the world’s most deluded pseudo socialist George Galloway. Achieving this level of self delusion would be neither easy nor desirable but decisions like this indicate that it is well within your reach.
On a more serious note this demented decision has serious implications for the human rights of transgender people and indeed for other groups such as anyone with any kind of impairment and people under 4 feet 9 all of whom also face being banned from the roads.
It seems to me at least that this ludicrous decision is surely a breech of human rights for Russian trans people and in my opinion places a major doubt about the suitability about the choice of Russia to host the next Football World Cup in 2018. Indeed I remember expressing some very serious doubts on this issue to Glasgow Labour MSP Drew Smith during a chat on the role of both football and sport in general in to relation human rights issues at Glasgow’s LGBT pride festival in August 2013. Drew a lifelong Hibernian fan agreed with me that a country’s human rights record should be considered when selecting it as a host nation for such an important global sporting event. I think however he was surprised that I as an SNP member suggested England to take the place of Russia as hosts in 2018 though he didn’t contest the idea.
Well think about it, England has the stadiums, support and sporting and commercial infrastructure to make a success of the World Cup and despite the stinking wealth of its oil rich billionaires I’m not sure Russia does. As a transwoman who is a passionate Scotland supporter I would love nothing more than to put my tartan tights on as a part of the tartan army as I watch Scotland in a World Cup Finals. However should I get the opportunity to do so, I want not only to feel proud to wear to them I also want to feel safe when I do. I do not want to feel devalued degraded or dehumanised when I’m supporting my country. To ban trans people from driving sends out the wrong kind of message to me and that is why I believe the World Cup must be moved elsewhere. You see the way I look at it is this If I can’t wear my blusher in Russia then I’ll drive an agenda for fairness.
Love And Best Wishes