Western Europe's gender policy is 'an enormous tragedy and next generations will see its repercussions', according to the Russian Orthodox Church's spokesman on foreign affairs.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow patriarchate's department for external Church relations, made the comments on the Rossiya'24 television channel on Saturday, according to the website tass.com.
He said: 'The decisions taken in many European countries nowadays are enforced by the same ideology which has already destroyed many families, the ideology which claims that an individual can choose gender, that even in their childhood a person can define who will be their partners in the future – same-sex or not.
'All sex reassignment surgeries are based on lies and deceit,' he added. 'The lies are introduced through ideology, which in its turn comes through school education. It is an enormous tragedy of contemporary Western Europe and the entire contemporary Western world. Perhaps, only next generations will understand the scope of the tragedy.'
Metropolitan Hilarion continued: 'It means a human being's external characteristics are possible to be alternated. So let's suppose a man will look like a woman. However, such a man cannot have a baby and will never become a real woman.'
He said that the Church 'will always come forward against these lies and deceit', adding: 'What is a mental disorder, what could be corrected and cured, is presented as a norm and people are forced to disfigure themselves. There are many cases when people come to senses. When they have undergone toughest operations, reassigning gender or changing skin colour. Afterwards, they realise they have been merely deceived but nothing can be repaired.'
Transgender people are legally allowed to changed their gender in Russia, but frequently face discrimination and hostility. The conservative Russian Orthodox Church has steadfastly condemned both transgender procedures and homosexuality.