November 20, International Day of Remembrance of transgender victims

On November 20 transgender people murdered in hate crimes for their gender identity are being remembered. Documentation of such crimes is extremely difficult. In the majority of cases these crimes are not investigated properly and the perpetrators are not held responsible for their crimes.

Transgender people are becoming even more vulnerable at times of military conflicts, when the destiny of civilians depends on the arbitrariness of armed militants. In eastern Ukraine, where the military conflict continues for the third year, the so-called “People’s Republics” borrowed Russian homophobic legislation, and the “laws” and practices that were adopted there even included death penalty for same-sex sexual contacts. So, in addition to the risks faced by all the inhabitants of these territories, LGBTI persons there faced an additional grave danger of becoming victims of homophobic aggression.

In cases where there was wide discrepancy between the actual appearance of transgender people and their identity documents, they could not leave the territory of self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” and were forced to go into hiding, living in constant fear and unable to leave home for even basic needs. In such circumstances, in the absence of livelihood and employment, it was also impossible for them to receive humanitarian aid and assistance. Victims of homophobic violence could not even seek medical help for fear of being attacked again due to mismatch of their actual appearance and identity documents. There were cases of illegal detentions of transgender people, keeping them in captivity or of bullying and beating them. After finding themselves in complete isolation, without the possibility to leave for a safer area, many transgender people made suicide attempts. The exact number of victims of violence and homophobic harassment, who had been pushed to suicide on the territories controlled by the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, is not known.

But the death toll of transgender people remembered on November 20 should not get ever longer with new victims. Violence against transgender people, including those living in conflict zones, should be stopped.