Anastasia-Eva Kristel Domani – a few years ago having this name was a great dream for the Kyiv woman. At 37, she began hormone replacement therapy as part of her transition. She says she remembers taking that first pill and coming to the realization that she was starting a new life.
In Ukraine, it’s not easy to start the process of transitioning. A transgender person needs to get a psychiatric diagnosis of ‘transsexualism’ and then wait two years before they can start hormone replacement therapy and change their documents.
But less than two years ago, this process was even more difficult. Under the former framework, repealed by the Ukrainian Health Ministry in late 2016, transgender people were forced to undergo psychiatric observation as a hospital inpatient for up to 45 days, get a divorce and submit to having surgery, just to have their gender identity legally recognized.
Domani now has new legal documents that match her gender identity and has been removed from the country’s army register, which formerly made her liable for military service. But there are still formalities and challenges ahead.
These days Domani shares her experience with other transgender people, participates in various human rights conferences and consults on trans issues for international organizations, including Amnesty International Ukraine and Trans Coalition in Post-Soviet Space.
She has a child and a wife. Her daughter calls her "daddy". She hasn’t discussed the transition with her relatives yet. She says she dreams of waking up one day with the knowledge that everyone already knows of her transition. She hopes for understanding and acceptance.
Domani talked to Hromadske about her experience of transitioning and the challenges faced by trans people in Ukraine.
/By Oleksandra Chernova
/Translated by Natalie Vikhrov