In what has become a controversial move by Ukrainian authorities, Transgender women are being denied from leaving the country because their passport indicates they are men and not women.
Transgender people are women who changed their gender to men or men who changed their gender to women and have backing documentation that identifies them as such.
In Africa, persons like Ohe Martins and Nigerian crossdresser Bob Risky come to mind– in both cases, being men who identify as women.
Transgender women in Ukraine say they are “totally stuck” and “scared for their lives” in the country because their passport states that they are “men” and not women.
Two Ukrainian trans women said they can’t leave Ukraine or even safely travel through it because all of their identification documents say “male” and mention their “old masculine names”.
Some trans people have even been advised to “lose their ID” by human rights groups, in order to get out of Ukraine. Trans campaigners estimate this issue is leading to “hundreds” of trans people in Ukraine being left in “serious danger” and feeling “completely alone”.
One trans woman said she is “terrified” of being stopped trying to leave Ukraine and being forced to join the Ukrainian army “like a man” – especially because authorities are stopping men aged 18 to 60 from leaving. Another Ukrainian trans woman is too scared to leave her accommodation in fear of transphobic attacks. She’s the only person left in her neighbourhood.
One trans man, who transitioned over six years ago and has lived as a man in Ukraine since only has an ID showing “female”. He told VICE World News about his fears of leaving his house and trying to make it across Ukraine. During a phone call, screaming and explosions were heard coming from outside his accommodation, but he still refused to leave because of his ID issue.
A non-binary Ukrainian person explained their fears of leaving Ukraine and heading to “places like Poland or Hungary” where their identity is “ridiculed” and not recognised. “I need to choose between my own country – that I have learned how to navigate –or a totally foreign place where I could feel even more excluded and in danger,” they added.