Our spetsіalіsts advise and accompany LGBTQI + people and their families during the evacuation from the regions which are under fire to the western parts of Ukraine and EU countries. We also help with the processing/reissuing of documents for transgender people and those who plan to legally cross the border.
From the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Gender Stream team organized the evacuation of people from hot spots, occupied and de-occupied territories, provided advisory assistance on legal border crossing and monitored the observance of human rights during the execution of all necessary documents and travel abroad. We closely followed all relevant changes in Ukrainian legislation to provide representatives of discriminated groups with full assistance on legal grounds.
February 23, on the eve of a full-scale attack of Russia, the decree of the President in Ukraine introduced a state of emergency, one of the conditions of which was the prohibition of conscripts and reservists to change their place of residence without the informing of the relevant territorial center of recruitment and social support (former military registration and enlistment office). On the morning of the next day, martial law was introduced, containing a similar restriction (Article 37 of the Law “On Military Duty and Military Service” and Article 22 of the Law “On Mobilization Training and Mobilization“).
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine stopped allowing all people with a male gender marker in their passport to pass through the state border of Ukraine late in the evening of February 24, when news appeared on the official website of the service that “due to the introduction of martial law in Ukraine, a separate category of citizens is temporarily restricted from leaving Ukraine. In particular, the travel outside Ukraine of male citizens of Ukraine aged 18 to 60 years is prohibited. ” This rule is valid in Ukraine until today.
The travel ban limited the right to evacuate abroad for transgender people (both t * men and t * women), as it was based solely on the marker of biological sex indicated in the documents, without taking into account the gender identity of people. It is worth noting that the trans * community currently does not have access to specialized medical care in Ukraine – it was limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the beginning of a full-scale invasion it became extremely difficult. The extremely high level of homophobia and transphobia in power structures makes transgender people extremely vulnerable.
Thus, dozens of t * people became hostages of this situation – many of them did not have time to change documents before a full-scale invasion. The first transgender person to cross the border was Heorhii Markov, a member of our team. He had a military document, which the border guards, after the discussions, considered sufficient to pass.
The rest of the transgender people, who at that time wanted to cross the border, needed additional documents and procedures to evacuate.
The head of the Gender Stream organization, Olha Poliakova, analyzed the current legislation, in particular the Regulations on the military medical examination in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and on the basis of this created the first instruction in Ukraine on crossing the border for transgender people during martial law.
Lev Terekhov, co-founder of the Resist * ance initiative group, became the first to cross the border already according to the instructions, and Olha personally accompanied him to the territorial recruitment center in Uzhhorod and, step by step, went through all the stages of the military medical commission. In the end, Lev was removed from the military register and evacuated to Slovakia, where our team has already arranged the first shelter for LGBTIQ + people in the city of Kosice. Subsequently, most of the Resist * ance team was evacuated by Gender Stream.