Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, there were alarms that one of the most vulnerable, exposed groups is LGBTQIA+ people, especially trans people, who face additional barriers to leaving the country. Therefore, we have prepared a set of tips and helpful information especially for them. Find out which organisations in Poland and Ukraine offer support for LGBTQIA+ people, where to turn to and which sources to consult to broaden your knowledge on the topic.
LGBT+ rights in Poland
In the ILGA-Europe ranking (an international ranking measuring the level of LGBTQIA equality), Poland ranks last in the European Union and 43rd out of 49 European countries; more information on Poland’s ranking score can be found on the KPH website.
Polish legislation does not allow same-sex couples to marry, nor is there a legal basis for same-sex partnerships. However, one can protect one’s rights by referring to the constitutional provision of Article 32(2) according to which: No one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason. The Labour Code contains a provision prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals. As far as the social situation is concerned: there has been a dispute over ‘LGBT-free zones’ for the past three years and there are plenty of other political situations going on, challenging fundamental rights.
Supporting organizations in Poland
In the larger cities of the country, there are organizations that provide assistance to queer people and fight for their rights. Miłość Nie Wyklucza Association has created a list of organizations working for LGBT+ people in Poland.
Information on support for LGBT+ people from Ukraine is available here.
If you need help, you can get support by contacting, among others, involved organizations such as Lambda Warszawa or Campaign Against Homophobia.
Information on support for LGBT+ people from Ukraine is available here. If you need help, you can get it by contacting, among others, involved organizations, such as Lambda Warszawa or Kampania Przeciw Homofobii.
- Lambda Warszawa – Support Center for the LGBTQ Community from Ukraine in Warsaw
The organization provides comprehensive support in the field of:
- legal assistance,
- psychological support in Ukrainian and Russian,
- help in obtaining health benefits,
- material support,
- help in continuing the transition,
- providing shelter in temporary housing.
Registration is possible via the form or by phone: +48 22 628 52 22 – Lambda Helpline in Ukrainian is open Monday to Friday from 2 to 4 pm.
The organisation runs a housing base (application via form) dedicated to those seeking safe accommodation and offering friendly shelter, it also runs a day centre for refugees. It is a safe space where you can spend time with the LGBT+ community, use the internet, electricity and a bathroom with shower, have a coffee or tea and relax. The common room is open Monday to Friday from: 10:00-18:00 and is located in Warsaw at 99/40 Jerozolimskie Avenue.
Ukrainian supporting organizations
LGBT+ people fight and are involved in the territorial defense of Ukraine. Some of them stayed in the country due to personal decisions, inability to leave or other barriers. They can also count on support in Ukraine, e.g. organizations such as:
The organization offers, among others: help for trans people, psychological, legal and medical help, material support, help in finding temporary accommodation, help in organizing medicines (including medicines necessary for hormone therapy).Information about the forms of assistanceis available in the post on Instagram Insight.
You can seek help by applying to the organization using a short form. Their website includes guidance on how to access ARVsdepending on where you are. On Instagram, in featured stories, GenderZed collects information about support provided by other organizations. This data was also collected and published on the Dniprotoday website – where to look for LGBT+ help.
Guide for trans people from Ukraine
A document created by Ukrainian organisations fighting for equal rights Human rightsinformation: obstacles to the departure of transgender people from Ukraine during the war contains recommendations for action describes the situation and barriers trans people may face due to conscription policy.
Transgender women, who have not started the process of changing their documents and correcting their gender, aged between 18 and 60 years old due to their mobilisation obligation, face obstacles to leaving the country. The Guardian featured the stories of Judis and Alice in March, when they were denied travel to a safe country, (even with their status as women on their documents) there was considerable abuse. An article on the subject is available here.
The portal tranzycja.pl, a project of the Stonewall Group and theKohezja Foundation, has published a guide for transgender people from Ukraine, with information on how to leave the country and find safe shelter. There are tips on how to proceed depending on having an F64 diagnosis, practical information on crossing the border, help with finding accommodation or getting hormones and other needed medication. A special chatbot for LGBT people from Ukraine has also been launched on Telegram: @lgbtukrainebot, through which help is available 24/7.
Queer Solidarnie pledges help with transport, psychological support, and support with transit. The initiative is being created by people from the Wrzenie Foundation, Queer Tour, Grupę Nieustającej Pomocy and other activists.
Transition in Poland
Transition of a transgender person should be individual. The specific elements of adjustment (e.g. coming out and subsequent social transition, hormone therapy, surgery, cosmetic procedures, e.g. laser hair removal, legal gender reconciliation, change of data in documents) are based on individual needs.
Transition is a way for a transgender person to live in harmony with themselves, to live more as themselves. All the changes that occur in the life of a trans person with transition – in its social, medical or legal aspects – are meant to bring the trans person closer to being free to be themselves, to realise their life plans, to arrange their relationships successfully. It is a process in which two experiences that many transgender people experience – gender dysphoria and gender euphoria – feature strongly.* Trans-Fuzja Foundation, The Transition Process in Poland, written by Grzegorz “Lifyen” Żak and Emilia Wisniewska, source: https://www.transfuzja.org/edukacja/proces-tranzycji.
The Trans-Fuzja Foundation has published an educational post about the transition process. It contains all the information about transition in Poland, tips on how to get the opinion of a sexologist, psychologist and psychiatrist (a map of specialists is available), information about hormone therapy, surgery, detransition, costs or metric gender reconciliation.
The process of medical surgery is possible after a change of documents. The change of metric data in Poland is carried out through the courts by means of an action brought by the person who wants to make the change against his or her parents or guardian if the person’s parents are deceased (according to Article 189 of the k.p.c.).
The Trans-Fuzja Foundation also runs support groups in several cities, provides legal assistance and psychological support (also available remotely) and provides fundraising for people to cover the costs of transitions.
Equality Parade 2022 Warsaw&Kyiv
Due to the war, the annual 2022 Kiev Equality March in the Ukrainian capital has been cancelled. However, the event took place on 25 June, and was combined with the Warsaw Equality Parade.
Some other organisations:
- Kyiv Pride
- Gay Alliance Ukraine
- Queer Tour
- Fundacja Wrzenie
- Znaki Równości
- Grupa Nieustającej Pomocy
- Gender.zed Library – a collection of downloadable guides and information
- LGBT – Youth – a guide for for those working with youth, available from Gender.Zed
- PREP Guide – downloadable in pdf format,available from Gender.Zed
- Miłość Nie Wyklucza – information kit for people from Ukraine, also available here
- Testing and counselling centres – a list of centres where HIV tests can be done free of charge, anonymously and without a referral
- Stowarzyszenie Profilaktyki Zdrowotnej Jedeń Świat – support for seropositive people, HIV testing
- Tęcza po burzy – support map
- Gay Alliance Ukraine – psychological support group
- Gay Alliance Ukraine -films on trans issues
- Psychological support for refugees