The hell that trans people live in Ukraine after the Russian invasion
The humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine it is increasing at a rate not seen in decades as the bombing and fighting continues over time. In the first week of the conflict, a million people have fled the country, most of them women, children and the elderly. «In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of a million refugees from Ukraine to neighboring countries«, reported the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Philippo Grandi. However, many trans people may not have made such trips.
Human rights groups have even advised some trans people to «lose your ID» to leave Ukraine. Trans activists believe that this problem is causing hundreds of trans people in Ukraine are in grave danger and feel all alone.
Two Ukrainian trans women told VICE World News that they cannot leave Ukraine or even travel safely because all their identification documents say «closet» and mention their «old male names«. Is it so "totally trapped» and «they fear for their lives». Another trans woman said that she is «terrified» of being arrested trying to leave Ukraine and force her to join the Ukrainian army"as a man«, especially since the authorities prevent men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving. A fourth Ukrainian trans woman is too scared to leave her accommodation for fear of transphobic attacks. She is the only person left in her neighborhood.
A trans man, who transitioned over six years ago and has lived as a man in Ukraine ever since, only has an ID showing "Woman«. He told the reporter Ben Hunt about her fears of leaving her home and trying to cross Ukraine. During a phone call, screams and explosions were heard coming from outside her accommodation, but even so he refused to leave due to his identification problem.
Another non-binary testimonial explained her fears of leaving Ukraine and go to places like Poland o Hungary, where your identity is "ridiculed» and not recognized. "I need to choose between my own country or a totally foreign place where I might feel even more excluded and in danger."He added.
Zi Faamelu is a 31-year-old trans woman Kiev. He is a musician and has appeared on television in his native country. Faamelu said to VICE World News that he cannot leave the country and that his life is in danger. «Like hundreds of trans people in Ukraine, I am female, but I have “male” on my passport and all of my ID, so this is a war within a war. Ukrainian trans people were already fighting for their lives«. "There are hundreds of us stuck like this, living miserable lives. We need some influence from abroad. We need people to write to their politicians and charities to help us“, he claims.
Caught at a crossroads
En Ukraine legal gender recognition can be obtained, but human rights groups have called the process "abusive" , given that "violates the rights to privacy and physical integrity«. The process of registration change in Ukraine is «humiliating« and that they have seen people who have to «stay in mental institutions for months, with psychological and physical tests to prove their gender«. For this reason, many trans people do not have updated documents and now find themselves at a deadly crossroads.
«Trans people now feel forgotten, neglected, abandoned. We are actually invisible right now. we need at United NationsWe need human rights organizations. We need people to help us get noticed«, He claims Faamelu.
To people fleeing Ukraine they have been told that several neighboring countries will accept them without any identification, however journeys to reach the borders may still involve being stopped at checkpoints by the police or military, queuing with members of the public and splitting up on "male and female groups» to prioritize safety and travel. Refugee camps have proven not to be safe spaces for LGTBIQ+ people.