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Oktyabrskaya Railroad lawsuit (re sexual orientation discrimination in Russia)

In 2003, a resident of St. Petersburg filed a lawsuit against the Oktabrskaya Railroad Company for not allowing him to enroll in training courses because he was a homosexual. The court ruled the company's rejection of his application was illegal because homosexuality was no longer classified as a mental disorder. 


C русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.

Factual Background

In 2003, the Oktyabrskaya Railroad Company (ORR) deemed the plaintiff, a resident of St. Petersburg, Russia, unfit to work as a conductor due to a note in his military record regarding his homosexuality.  

This note, made during a medical examination that the plaintiff underwent in 1992 as part of his military service, stated that he suffered from a mental disorder because he was homosexual.  At the time, homosexuality was classified as “perverse psychopathy” according to a 1987 USSR Ministry of Defense regulation, and Soviet-era medical doctrine, which limited one’s access to particular kinds of professions and ability to perform military service.  Consequently, the plaintiff was registered at a local psychiatric clinic and required to undergo periodic psychiatric assessments.

In 1997, the Russian Health Ministry implemented the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, which does not classify homosexuality as a mental disorder.  On 27 January 2003, the plaintiff’s name was deleted from the registry at the local psychiatric clinic.  However, the military continued to classify homosexuality as a disorder and refused to withdraw the note from his military record.

In reviewing the plaintiff’s application, ORR failed to take into account the changes made to his medical assessment and removal from the clinic registry, and only considered the note in his military record.

Legal Argument

The plaintiff filed suit against ORR for not allowing him to enroll in training courses, which are required in order to work as a train conductor.  ORR rejected the plaintiff’s application on the basis of his homosexuality.

Legal Proceeding

In 2003, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Frunzensky District Court of St. Petersburg.

Latest Update

On 10 August 2005, the Frunzensky District Court of St. Petersburg ruled that ORR’s rejection of his application was illegal.  The court also confirmed that the diagnosis of the plaintiff’s “perverse psychopathy” was unlawfully based exclusively on his homosexuality, and that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

- “Gay Man Fights For His Rights”, St. Petersburg Times, 30 Sep 2005
- [RU] Петербургский гомосексуалист отстоял в суде право работать проводником, ИА REGNUM, 22 сентября 2005 года [A homosexual from St. Petersburg vindicated claim to work as a train conductor, 22 Sep 2005]

- [RU] [DOC] ПРЕСС-РЕЛИЗ, Психиатрический правозащитный центр (MDAC), 20 сентября 2005 года [Press release, Mental Disability Advocacy Center, 20 Sep 2005]

- [RU] [DOC] Пояснения адвоката к исковому заявлению, 10 августа 2005 года [Lawyer’s written comments for the court, 10 Aug 2005] [Russian]

- [RU] [PDF] X. против Октябрьской железной дороги, Решение Фрунзенского районного суда г. Санкт-Петербурга, Россия, 10 августа 2005 года [X. v. Oktyabrskaya Railroad, Judgment by the Frunzensky District Court of St. Petersburg, Russia, 10 Aug 2005]