It is difficult for transgender people to leave Ukraine
Before crossing the border into Poland, Joanna never thought she could leave Ukraine. “She looks great and needs almost no makeup!” – says the makeup artist.
Joanna is a trans woman who, before the war in Ukraine, was in the beginning stages of legally changing her gender marker. Recently, she was able to update her birth certificate.
Joanna, a refugee: “I had problems because I was told that a birth certificate was not enough to cross the border. I needed an ID card, which I did not have. So I was worried that, yes, they could refuse me at the border.
Janna was able to cross the border. Many other members of the trans community were less fortunate.
Johanna, a refugee: “You need to have documents. If you have them, everything will be fine. If you don’t, everything is bad.
Many transgender women trying to leave Ukraine are stopped by a ban on military-age men to leave the country.
LGBTQ+ activists in Ukraine have achieved significant rights in recent years. However, there are still many barriers for transgender people.
For example, an outpatient psychiatric evaluation is still required for them to legally change their gender. Many transgender women still have male markers in their documents.
Igor Medved, coordinator of the Ukrainian organisation HPLGBT: “The LGBT community was very much marginalised and discriminated against even before the war. They claim to be treated as men who have a gender marker in their passport as a ‘male’. Border guards treat them by documentation, not because they are already making their transgender transition. We believe that this is another form of legalised transphobia”.
According to Igor, a few people without updated documents were able to leave in the early days of the war. But since then the situation has changed and it is almost impossible to do so. People are taking extreme measures.
Anastasia-Eva Domani, NGO Cohort: “We have two organisations of trans people in Ukraine and we both appeal to trans people (with a request) not to bribe or use fake documents in any way. We are categorically against people losing their documents on purpose. The situation will be even worse for them”.
Anastasia-Eva Domani recommends that transgender people move to the west of the country to wait out the war actions. The NGO that Anastasia-Eva works for providing hormones to treat those who are not on the front line.
While other activists are calling for the creation of a humanitarian corridor to help transgender people to leave the country.