The Court Yet Again Denies Transgender Woman’s Parental Rights

On April 24, the Regional Court of Moscow upheld the termination of parental rights of a transgender woman Pasha Kaptanovskaya. The judge upheld the previous decision, confirming the termination of her parental rights and restricting her interactions with her son up until he reaches 18 years old. Previously, no November 25, the Lyubertsy City Court ruled that Kaptanovskaya’s parental rights should be restricted. The forensic psychiatric examination appointed within the framework of the trial was not conducted.

Illarion Vasiliev, Kaptanovskaya’s counsel, pointed that the court ignored the conclusion of the experts invited to testify on the side of the defense. The expert argued that having a transgender parent doesn’t affect child’s gender identity. Vasiliev also argues that "transgender" is not included in Federal Law No. 436-FZ of December 29, 2010 "On the protection of minors from the information that is harmful to their health and development". Nevertheless, the court ruling against the appeal specifically in relation to this law.

The expert that the defense invited to testify during the court hearing, argued that conclusions of previous experts were driven by their openly transphobic attitudes. Yet, as Vasiliev noted, the judge didn’t take this testimony into account.

Kaptanovskaya herself highlight that the trial was biased: "The court gladly meets the demands of the opposing side. When our part asks to postpone the process to find experts and evidence, the court immediately gets hostile and refuses our demands. Basically, there is no equality of parties and it is a major violation of the judicial order. When I testify, the judge actively refuses to pay attention. Neither the experts nor the judges have ever bothered to listen to my child's opinion. They simply agree with what my ex-wife and her relatives have to say.They don’t really care about the plausibility and consistency of their testimonies. I feel exhausted from the indifference I face in the courtrooms, my heart is torn shreds by the merciless heartlessness of my former relatives. The judicial machine cares more about observing the formalities. It doesn’t care about the interests of real people who suffer form separation anxiety, misunderstandings, rejections, and hate of their transphobic relatives."

Following the formal separation from her wife in June of 2014, Kaptanovskaya received the right to see her son during the time set by the court. Her ex-wife’s relatives insisted that she should stop seeing her son, right after Kaptanovskaya published a social media post about the struggle over her parental rights. The last time Kaptanovskaya saw her son was in August 2014. Since then she’s been engaged in a legal dispute for the opportunity to meet with her son on a regular basis.