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.
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