Will Russia bring its war on LGBTQ people to Ukraine?

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03/03/2022

Zi Faámelu wants to escape the war in Ukraine, but her identity will not let her. The 31-year-old singer, who is transgender, has a passport that says she is male, the sex assigned to her at birth, and Ukraine has prohibited men of fighting age from leaving the country. That paradox has left Faámelu hunkered inside her Kyiv apartment as missiles soar all around her. She is considering following other transgender women who have crossed into Poland illegally through the woods in the week since Russia invaded. “Already we were fighting for our lives,” she said. “And now we’re actually in war.” Faámelu is anxious to leave now. She knows that under a Russian occupation, life could deteriorate quickly for LGBTQ people like her. “It is a very bleak situation for trans people in Ukraine,” Faámelu said. “But in Russia, it’s even worse.”

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