Follow-up to UKR36071.E of 19 January 2001 on the situation of transsexuals [UKR37377.E]

In correspondence dated 12 February 2001, the deputy coordinator of the Nash Mir/Nash Svit (Our World) Gay and Lesbian Centre in Lugansk, Ukraine, states the following in response to the Research Directorate's questions:

1. What is the overall treatment of transsexuals by society and by the state in Ukraine?

The attitude towards transsexuals in Ukraine is similar to the situation for gay people but even harsher. Mainly they are seen with incomprehension, distrust and often disgust. Everything depends on the personal qualities of a person who is in contact with a transsexual, but there is obvious tendency towards ignoring transsexuals' problems if the person are in the authority position. Only people regarding problems of transsexuals are the medical profession.
The state almost completely ignores the very existence of transsexual persons and have not any developed policy on protection of their rights. Only known to us important official document on transsexual issues is the Order No. 57 of 15/03/1996 "On rendering assistance to persons who need change (correction) of their gender belonging" of the Ministry of Public Health. This order describes conditions and way of getting permission for sex-change surgery and the staff of a respective commission.

2. Since January 2000, have there been any instances of transsexuals in Ukraine being subjected to threats of violence, physical assault, harassment or discrimination and, if so, what types of incidents occurred? Could you provide details or reports?

We have no information.

3. How effective and available is state protection (police, judicial system, etc.) in Ukraine for transsexuals who are threatened with violence, physically assaulted, discriminated against or harassed?

There is not any specific policy, nor any special protection. Theoretically a transsexual person are protected as any ordinary citizen but in fact even ordinary citizens cannot rely upon state protection, let alone transsexual people.

4. Are transsexuals (who have completed their sex change from male to female, or who are in the process of changing from male to female) required to perform compulsory military service?

It is not quite clear from the mentioned Order No. 57 of the Ministry of Public Health whether a person who are recognised as a transsexual but have not yet got permission on the sex correction has to serve in the army. However there should be noted:
1. Sex-correction surgery may be performed only after a person has reached 25 years of age. The highest age for compulsory military conscription in Ukraine is 25 years too. So it is presumed that a biological man has to complete his military service before getting permission for sex correction.
2. The process of acknowledgement of a person's transsexuality is so long and complicated that it can take up many years. The order explicitly mentioned that until the completion of this process any opinion or conclusions of an individual doctor or the whole commission on sex correction may not be regarded as a basis for any medical or social consequence.
So it is quite probable that a young transsexual person just may not be recognised as such one until 18 years of age and, accordingly, be called up to the military service. We consulted with Dr. Yury Kukurekin, sexologist, who works in a military conscription medical commission. He said that officially transsexualism itself is not a reason for release of compulsory military service. But usually doctors, when met a case of transsexualism, invent some broad vague diagnosis - "sexual psychopathy" for instance - and release a transsexual person of military service on this ground. In fact, it is only possible way to get a transsexual man (or women after change her sex to male) rid of the service until reaching 25 years of age.

5. If the answer to the above question is yes, and the transsexuals refuse to perform the military service, what has been the state response (indifference, fines, prosecution, imprisonment, etc.)? Could you provide details or reports?

We have no information about such cases but according to the Article 72 "Evasion of conscription of the fixed-date military service" of the Criminal Code of Ukraine such crime is punished with imprisonment up to 3 years. In case of mobilisation according to the Article 73 "Evasion of conscription under mobilisation" the punishment is increased up to 5 years. In fact, though, military and doctors as well do not want to see a transsexual person serving in the army, so they invite excuses, as described above, to release him from the service. But there is no official regulations on this subject and everything depends upon goodwill of a military commissioner and medical commission. The information was provided by Dr. Kukurekin.

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Our World Gay and Lesbian Centre, Lugansk, Ukraine. 12 February 2001. Correspondence from deputy coordinator.