Transgenders in Ukraine: Why Can’t They Leave?

Published March 13th, 2022 - 07:15 GMT
trans in Ukraine
Ukrainian men aged between 18-60 years have been barred from leaving the country. (Shutterstock: Alexander Lukatskiy)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been taking a toll on the lives of millions of people inside the country where the population is approaching 45 million people. However, some social groups are facing a unique set of challenges that can not be easily expected.

According to figures provided by the UNCHR, more than 2.6 million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their country during the last three weeks, besides millions of other internally-displaced people who had to move to safer Ukrainian cities.

The relief agency is also expected the number of Ukrainian refugees to top 4 million in the coming weeks if the conflict continues to escalate. 

However, several LGBTQ individuals have spoken up about being quite vulnerable amid growing challenges they have been facing, including the inability to leave the country and seek refuge in other safer places, faced by some of them due to their gender identity.

While many Ukrainian LGBTQ people have expressed their worries that they might end up in countries that are less tolerant of their rights than Ukraine, others, especially transgender individuals highlighted the difficulty they are facing in leaving Ukraine in the first place.

Due to the decision taken by Ukrainian authorities during the first few days of the invasion, last February, to ban men aged between 18 and 60 years old from leaving the country, so they remain and support the Ukrainian army in resisting the Russians, many transgender women are being forced to stay in the country.

According to anecdotes that have been highlighted in several reports by press sources and human rights organizations, hundreds of trans women who are still assigned as "males" in their IDs are facing the risk of either being drafted or at least being left in limbo to face Russian fires.

Moreover, some trans people expressed their concerns that their gender identities and the lack of security and safety measures during the war could increase their risk of being victims of transphobic attacks, whether verbally or physically.

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