A transgender woman living in Ukraine wants to get out of the country amid the Russian invasion, but Zi Faámelu's passport says "male" — and the 31-year-old noted to CBS News that "there's no way Ukrainian border people can let me through. There's no way."
What are the details?
The Ukraine State Border Guard Service reportedly announced last week that men ages 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving the country. But Faámelu may not be granted entry into a neighboring country anyway because of the mismatch between Faámelu's legal sex and lived gender, LBGTQNation said.
"This is not a very rainbow-friendly place. ... Lives for trans people are very bleak here," Faámelu noted to CBS News. "If you have a male gender in your passport, they will not let you go abroad. They will not let you through."
The LGBTQ community has become more accepted over the years, but the network said it's more complicated for transgender people.
Demonstrators rally in Mykhailivska Square, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine, during Trans*March 2021 pro-transgender procession. Yuliia Ovsiannikova/Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
LBGTQNation explained it's not easy for transgender Ukrainians to get updated passports, as Human Rights Watch said they're likely still required to undergo psychiatric observation and gender-affirming surgery to update their documents.
“I don’t want to go through that. This is like, humiliating for the world…. I decided to keep my passport, keep male in my passport, and now I cannot leave this country,” Faámelu noted to CBS News. “[It’s] a war within a war, truly.”
'I'm literally scared for my life'
The network said Faámelu — who lives in Kyiv, which has been barraged by Russian military forces — is running out of food and hasn't left home for days.
"A few hours ago I heard bombings and my windows were shaking. ... I'm literally scared for my life," Faámelu added to CBS News.
What's more, Faámelu told the network that transphobia is the norm in the city and in neighboring countries, and fears that if that trying to leave will increase the chances the transgender woman will be treated violently.
"Many people have guns and weapons. ... It can be an excuse for violence," Faámelu told CBS News, adding, "This is a very scary situation."
CBS News added that Faámelu also was a popular contestant on the Ukrainian singing competition show "Star Factory."
Adding to the difficulty are Faámelu's parents, who live in Crimea, the network said — and, according to Faámelu, don't believe Russia has invaded Kyiv: "They are literally brainwashed. The world sees the picture, but they are simply blind in this case. My parents think it's all fake, that we bomb ourselves, that we try to create some drama."
Transgender woman in Ukraine says she's trapped in Kyiv, scared for her life amid Russian invasionyoutu.be