Russian Trans Woman Wins Discrimination Suit in Historic First

In a historic first, a Russian court has ruled in favor of a transgender woman in a discrimination lawsuit against her employer, according to LGBTQ Nation.

Transgender woman Anastasia Vasilyeva sued the Yanoshka printing press in 2017 after she was fired from her job of 12 years immediately after presenting her employer with a corrected passport which listed her legal gender as female, which took her about a year to change. Vasilyeva claimed she lost her job because of her gender identity.

The job was one of more than 450 positions that women are forbidden from having, according to a law passed in 2000 barring women from “arduous” jobs to protect their reproductive health.

The Frunze District Court of St. Petersburg awarded Anastasia Vasilyeva almost $28,000 in damages and lost wages. Initially, a lower court ruled against the trans woman, claiming that the employer did not discriminate against her in an unlawful manner. However, the Presidium of the City Court ordered a reconsideration of her case.

The judge also ordered the printing press to give Vasilyeva her job back.

Vasilyeva’s victory was a landmark decision, according to Coming Out, an LGBTQ group based in St. Petersburg.

“This is the first case in Russia that we know of in which a transgender person defended her rights with regards to discrimination in employment,” the organization said in a statement, “and we hope that this victory will be empowering for many other transgender people to follow in her footsteps.”

Woekplace discrimination is a prevalent problem in Russia. According to a study done by Pravo Trans in 2016, 50 percent of Russians said they had been fired or denied employment because of their gender identity.

Vasilyeva’s attorneys recognized the importance of the victory, saying it set a “very important precedent” in the largely conservative country.