Trans women who try to escape from Ukraine have to face hellish journeys

A checkpoint in Transnistria, a self-proclaimed republic on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. (Photo: Daniel Mihalescu via AFP)

A checkpoint in Transnistria, a self-proclaimed republic on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. (Photo: Daniel Mihalescu via AFP)

Ukraine – “If your passport is male, they will not let you go abroad, they will not let you go.” G. Familu is a 31-year-old trans woman from Kiev. If he is finally able to flee his country, he is first called a “war in war”: transphobia in armed conflict.

In April, an estimated 5 million Ukrainians fled their country. And for trans people, this decision to leave their home presents an additional difficulty. “During my recent visit to Ukraine, I was also informed that some transgender people are having difficulty leaving the country,” explained Dunza Mizatovich, the European Council’s human rights commissioner, on May 17.

Although this Saturday, June 25 the Paris Pride March is held, Halfpost Trans women take stock, whose difficulties are well documented.

Insecurity, weakness

Although Ukraine has made progress on LGBT + rights in recent years, the country is far from leading the way. According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, or International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Ukraine ranks 39th out of 49 European countries in its treatment of LGBT + people. As reminded by GuardianMarriage between people of the same sex is not allowed, there are no laws to protect them from discrimination, and the Orthodox Church considers homosexuality a sin.

Indeed, trans women who have appeared in the media since the beginning of the conflict testify to the insecurity and vulnerability they feel. This is the case of G. Familu, who, before leaving the country, rarely dared to leave his home. “As a transgender person, living in Ukraine at normal times is already very dangerous. So now it is impossible. Many gay people are well integrated into the rest of Ukrainian society, but for transgender people it is a different story. There are many physical features for which we are attacked – a big chin, wide shoulders. They beat us, they kill us. We should leave, but we can’t leave our apartment, “he said at the end of March Vice.

“Most trans people I’ve talked to in Ukraine are afraid of Russia,” notes for Guardian Bernard Vernes, from the Safebo Association, which helps remove vulnerable people. “These actions (murder, kidnapping, disappearance, unjust detention and use of torture) will target those who oppose Russian actions, including religious minorities, ethnic minorities and the LGBT + population,” added US Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker. United Nations.

Inability to flee the country

The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe also noted the vulnerability of these people and the need to “protect them against discrimination, prejudice and violence based on pre-war sexual orientation and gender identity”. He added that there is a lack of access to “specific healthcare for transgender and intersex people in countries where these drugs are already in short supply or where access is subject to heavy requirements.”

When Ukrainian trans women try to flee the country, the situation becomes more complicated. According to the country’s ongoing martial law, men between the ages of 18 and 60 must stay in Ukraine to fight. However, without proper gender identity, these women remain in the eyes of the law of men.

“I had a problem because I was told that a birth certificate was not enough to cross the border. I need an ID and I don’t have one. I was afraid they wouldn’t let me pass, “said JoanEuro news. Eventually he was able to leave the country. Like her, trans women who come to the border without an identity card or still come to the border with an identity card that shows a male gender refuse to leave at best, can be judged the worst.

In an article by Rollingstone, Zi Faámelu describes in detail the events of his escape. “Go, but know … that we don’t like people like you”, shouted the first Border Guard. Later, with the help of a driver, he finds himself in a military execution office on the Romanian border, where he is told he has to fight men. The driver with him at night advised him: “Do you know how to swim? This is the only option, you can cross the Danube illegally and swim across the border to Sigetu (a city in northwestern Romania, note the editor). So you will be a refugee, but you will break the law. ” Accepting this idea, he almost sinks, but achieves his goal. He is now a refugee in Germany.

Border test

Some trans women are even searched and physically examined. “There were three officers in the room. They told us to take off our jackets. They looked at our hands, at our arms, at the back of my neck to see if I had Adam’s apple. They touched my chest. After examining us, the border guards tell us that we are men. We tried to explain our situation but they did not pay attention, ”he said Guardian Ellis, 24, from the brewery, near Kiev.

Some advise trans people not to lose their identity cards, others advise them to pretend to “lose”. This is the case of LGBT + activist Rain Dove, who has launched a fund to help LGBT + people in Ukraine. “If you are a trans woman with an ‘H’ in your passport, or if you have the ‘H’ gender inappropriate, we advise you to ‘mistake’ your passport before going to the Ukrainian authorities. Hide your ID card in a water bottle or under your shoes. If you are arrested, you can simply say that you are not here, that you are a student in Ukraine, or that you are passing through. Without the ID, you will be sent to a long queue of foreign nationals, but then you will talk to the officials of the border countries and you will be able to present your ID without any problem. It worked 100% of the time, ”he reported.

Trans women, like trans men, but in general, all gender minorities face additional violence like war. That is why Dunja Mizatovic called on all member states in May to pay attention to their situation.

See also The Halfpost: The War in Ukraine: Macron Explains Why He’s in Kiev

This article originally appeared on The Halfpost and has been updated.

Also read

Leave a Comment