Transgender people in Ukraine – the communities within the community (the results of the expert survey)


Transgender people, being stigmatized, discriminated against, abused, and having less access to social, health, and public health services appear to be a hard-to-reach group for researchers. Thus, with very few opportunities for research, especially representative ones, it is challenging to plan high-quality and effective interventions that would help overcome stigma and discrimination as well as prevent violence against this group. The methods used to recruit respondents from hard-to-reach groups to assume that less visible subgroups can be accessed through the available, more visible ones. Still, the data presented in this article indicate the incoherence of social networks of trans- and non-binary people due to the stigma and discrimination. The main empirical findings aimed to describe the instability of the social ties within a group of transgender and non-binary people, probable explanations for the causes of this instability, and the main lines of the community fragmentation. Personal traumatic experiences of transgender people and the dispersion of the community also affect its weak involvement in civic activities. The paper dwells upon a phenomenon that is argotically called “stealth”: a transgender person in a particular time, having achieved the desired result in transgender transition, distances themself from the community, striving to live an everyday life in society in a new gender. Accordingly, such people lose all or most of their social ties with other transgender and/or non-binary people and are inaccessible both to the research aimed at this specific group and to various social programs. Based on the material used in this article, we can discuss the lack of a single community of transgender and non-binary people in Ukraine and the need to use this term about transgender and non-binary people in the plural, not singular, because each subgroup of trans- and non-binary people, is a separate community. At the same time, the existing forms of stable connections are described, such as public organizations, networks of fictitious kinship, etc. This article will be helpful for researchers, as well as project managers whose attention is focused on transgender and non-binary people in Ukraine.

  1. Winter, S., Diamond, M., Green, J., Karasic, D., Reed, T., Whittle, S., Wylie, K. (2016). Transgender people: health at the margins of society. Lancet, 388, 10042, 390-400.

  2. Reisner, S.L., Poteat, T., Keatley, J., Cabral, M., Mothopeng, T., Dunham, E., Holland, C.E., Max, R., Baral, S.D. (2016). Global health burden and needs of transgender populations: a review. Lancet, 388, 10042, 412-436.

  3. Trofymenko, O., Sazonova, Ya., Kasianczuk, M., Lysenko, T., Andrianova, I. (2021). Bio-behavioural stusy among transgender people in Ukraine: analytical report. Kyiv: Public Health Center of Ukraine [in Ukrainian]

  4. Kasianczuk, M., Trofymenko, O. (2020). Analytical report: Population size estimation for transgender people in Ukraine. Kyiv: SE “Center of Social Expertises named fter Yu. Saenko” of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. URL:

  5. Kasianczuk, M., Chikhladze, S. (2019). Two years of progress: Assessment of Existing Strategic Information on HIV among MSM and Trans People in Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and North Macedonia. Tallinn: Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM). URL:

  6. Kuzmenko, T.M. (2013). Essential characteristics and classification of social groups: reference group: types and functions. Aktualni problemy sotsiolohii, psykholohii, pedahohiky – Actual problems of sociology, psychology, pedagogy, 18, 64-77 [in Ukrainian]

  7. Merton, R.K. (1938). Social Structure and Anomie. American Sociological Review, 3, 5, 672-682.

  8. Sherif, M., Sherif, C.W. (1956). An Outline of Social Psychology. New York: Harper & Brothers.

  9. Tilly, C. (1973). Do Communities Act? Sociological Inquiry, 43, 3-4, 209-238.

  10. Wellman, B. (1996). Are personal communities local? A Dumptarian reconsideration. Social Networks, 18, 4, 347-354.

  11. Wellman, B., Gulia, M. (2002). Virtual communities as communities. In P. Kollock, M. Smith (Eds.), Communities in Cyberspace (pp. 167-194). Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.

  12. Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London, New York: Verso.

  13. Kon, I.S. (2003). Moonlight at Dawn: Faces and Masks of Same-Sex Love. Moscow: Olimp [in Russian]

  14. Steinbock, E. (2019). The Early 1990s and Its Afterlives: Transgender Nation Sociality in Digital Activism. Social Media + Society, 5 (4), 205630511988169.

  15. Alm, E., Martinsson, L. (2017). The rainbow flag as friction: transnational imagined communities of belonging among Pakistani LGBTQ activists. Culture Unbound, 8, 3, 218-239.

  16. Yadov, V.A. (1995). Social and socio-psychological mechanisms of the individual’s social identity formation. Mir Rossii. Sotsiologiya. Aetnologiya – Universe of Russia. Sociology. Ethnology, 3-4, 158-181 [in Russian]

  17. Shepeleva, G.A. (2013). Orphans as a specific social group. Sotsialni tekhnolohii: aktualni problemy teorii ta praktyky – Social technologies: topical issues of theory and practice, 58, 119-122 [in Ukrainian]

  18. Kasianczuk, M.H., Leshchynskyi, Ye.B. (2008). Analysis of the identities of men who have sex with men in Ukrainian society. Ukr. socìum – Ukrainian Society, 3 (26), 17-29 [in Ukrainian]

  19. Pryvalov, Yu., Alokhin, O., Bielov, O., Zarytskyi, A., Kasianczuk, M., Semenova, O., Trofymenko, O., Sheremet, S. (2016). Situational analysis of the LGBT situation in Ukraine: Extended version of the analysis. Kyiv: LGBT Association “LIGA” [in Ukrainian]

  20. Kravchuk, A., Zinchenkov, O., Liashchenko, O. (2021). Online community. The situation of LGBT people in Ukraine in 2020. Kyiv: Nash svit [in Ukrainian]

  21. Husakouskaya, N. (2019.). Geopolitical Transition of the European Body in Ukraine. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 28 (1), 79-83.

  22. Gressgård, R., Husakouskaya, N. (2020). Europeanization as Civilizational Transition from East to West. Intersections, 6 (3).

  23. Kasianczuk, M., Sheremet, S., Trofymenko, O. (2020). Status of same-sex partnerships in Ukraine. Sotsiologiya: teoriya, metody, marketing – Sociology: theory, methods, marketing, 3, 143-166.

  24. Trans Health: The Physical Health of Transgender People. (2019). Saint Petersburg: T-Deistvie [in Russian]

  25. Trans * glossary (2019). Tallinn: ECOM [in Russian]

  26. Kyzy, R.A. (2019). Assessment of the needs of transgender people in the CEECA region. Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia. Tallinn: ECOM [in Russian]

  27. Babenko, A.Yu., Isaeva, D.D. (Eds.). (2018). International Medical Standards for Care for Transgender People. Saint Petersburg: T-Deistvie [in Russian]

  28. The Communal Idea in the 21st Century. (2013). Leiden: Brill.

  29. Brotman, S., Ryan, B., Cormier, R. (2003). The Health and Social Service Needs of Gay and Lesbian Elders and Their Families in Canada. Gerontologist, 43 (2), 192-202.

  30. Kichler, R. (2021). “What Has Kept Me Alive”: Transgender Communities and Support. Journal of Homosexuality, 1-20.

  31. Billard, T.J. (2021). Together We Rise: The Role of Communication and Community Connectedness in Transgender Citizens’ Civic Engagement in the United States. Mass Communication and Society, 1-26.

Full text