Dozens of trans women have been prevented from leaving Ukraine as they tried to flee to Poland since the beginning of the war. The border guards consider them men, even though many show their documents that accredit them with their female genderand force them to stay in their country to fight against Russia.
“Martial law says that all men are required to serve in the armyso they can’t leave the country,” he said. Olena Shevchenkohuman rights defender and president of Insight, a Ukrainian LGBTQ+ organization, quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian.
I also read: Ukraine remembered the children killed in the war with more than 100 empty baby strollers
For the activist, “technically, the law also applies to trans people, including certified trans men and trans women who have not changed their documents. But it seems that the Ukrainian border guards are preventing even trans people with a valid certificate reflecting their new gender leave Ukraine, and no one knows why,” he said.
“The border guards strip you naked and touch you everywhere”: the crude account of a Ukrainian trans woman
The British newspaper collected several testimonies from trans women who were prevented from leaving the country at the border with Poland.
“Ukrainian border guards they undress you and touch you everywhere”, counted Jude. “You can see in their faces that they ask themselves ‘what are you?’ Like you’re some kind of animal or something.”
This transgender person presented her birth certificate at the border, which defines her as a woman. She legally should be able to leave the country. However, on March 12, after a search that she considered humiliating, border guards determined it was a man and blocked his way.
“One of the guards told me, ‘You’re a guy, so get the hell out of here. Go to war! She told me that I should be thankful that the police were not called, even though I have a legally valid document that says I am a woman,” she recounted.
What the Ukrainian law says about trans people and same-sex marriage
Activists consulted by The Guardian they claim that dozens of trans women were mistreated at the borders. They even said that many of them fear for their lives in a Ukraine occupied by Russian troops.
Gay marriage is not allowed in the country and there are no anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ+ people. However, since 2017, trans people are legally recognized, but must undergo extensive psychiatric observation and an extensive bureaucratic process before your new gender can be reflected on your identity documents.
I also read: TN in Ukraine: kyiv, a “ghost city” under a 35-hour curfew
For this reason, most trans women travel with their old documentation that portrays them as men.
“They checked me and touched my breasts: later they told me I was a man”
Another case documented by The Guardian It’s from Alice, 24, a trans woman from Brovary, a town near kyiv.
She and her wife, Helen, a 21-year-old who identifies as non-binary, were stopped by border guards while trying to cross into Poland.
“They took us to a building near the border crossing. There were three officers in the room. They told us to take off our jackets. They checked our hands, arms and my neck to see if I had an Adam’s apple. touched my breasts. After examining us, the border guards they told us we were men. We tried to explain our situation to them, but they didn’t care,” he commented.
But there is another situation that is beginning to worry LGBTQ+ associations and human rights defenders: since the beginning of the Russian invasion, trans people are running out of hormones by the closure of pharmacies and the lack of medicines.
I also read: Video: Russia reused thermobaric rockets, one of its deadliest weapons, in Ukraine
“If you suddenly stop taking hormones, it is extremely harmful to your healthsaid Alice Bernard Vaernes, a member of Safebow, an organization that helps evacuate vulnerable people.
“This is the moment when we must show that there are people who suffer, not only from war, but from sexism and transphobia, and yet (these people who are at risk) cannot leave,” he said.