On Friday, September 30th, 2022, during the OII Europe Online Public Conference 2022 OII Europe organized a panel called “Impact of the War in Ukraine on Intersex People and Rights of Intersex Asylum Seekers”. The text transcript of the panel is available below. We thank your amazing invited speakers, moderator and author of the quote.
The recordings of the rest of the OII Europe Online Public Conference 2022 are available here.
Impact of the War in Ukraine on Intersex People and Rights of Intersex Asylum Seekers Panel
Friday, September 30th, 2022, Online
- Magda Rakita, OII Europe, Fundacja Interakcja, Interconnected UK
- Julia Pustovit, Egalite Intersex Ukraine
- Artem Lapov, Intersex activist
- Gorji Marzban, VIMÖ – OII Austria, Queer Base – Support and Help for LGBTIQ+ Asylum Seeker in Austria, ORQOA – Oriental Queer Organisation Austri
Dan Christian Ghattas
Dear attendees, welcome!
The first panel of today’s event is about the impact of the war in Ukraine on intersex people and the rights of intersex asylum seekers.
I will quickly introduce our wonderful moderator Magda Rakita, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of OII Europe. Magda is an intersex woman, coach, crisis consultant and activist. Her education background is in economics, however after a successful career in finance she now focuses on building support networks for intersex people as well as advocacy for intersex human rights. She took part, presented and co-organised several events, gathering and conferences on the subject of intersex. She co-founded Fundacja Interakcja – the first intersex organisation in Poland – and Interconnected UK. Previously she co-organised first ever intersex groups taking part in London pride and collaborated with Intersex UK.
Thank you so much, Dan, I’m pleased to note that we are five minutes ahead of our schedule which gives us more space, hopefully to discuss this very important subject.
And thank you for the very kind introduction and welcome everyone, and thank you for connecting with us for this very important panel discussion.
We hope it will be both informative and engaging.
And I would like to encourage all of you to ask questions and get involved in the discussion.
The theme of this panel is the impact of war in Ukraine on intersex people and the rights of intersex refugees and asylum seekers, we have our truly wonderful panelists today, who have very diverse backgrounds.
So we may also touch on our own bit wider experiences of intersex people affected by conflict in general.
With the Russian aggression on Ukraine in February this year, OII Europe has been supporting intersex people from Ukraine and their families.
One of the organization and activists I collaborated with is Julia Pustovit, who is one of our panelists today.
Julia has been the main intersex activist in Ukraine and bravely supported other intersex people while staying in Ukraine herself the entire time.
Julia Pustovit is a Cultural historian, intersex activist, head of the NGO “Egalite Intersex Ukraine”.
“I was motivated to create the organization by both my own life problems and the law
defenseless position of intersex people in Ukraine, who still did not obtain of the legal right to be who they are, people who are therefore oppressed by the society and are the most hidden group of the people, and as a result, the most disenfranchised segment of the population. I am engaged in educational activities: hold thematic meetings with teachers, university students, doctors, lawyers, and the author of two books about Intersex people, and several booklets of an educational nature.
In 2020, I organized and held an exhibition at the International Exhibition Center of the Museum of the History of the City of Kyiv of photos reflecting the life of intersex people in different countries.
The Russia’s war against Ukraine brought severe trials to the whole our nation; many intersex people lost their means of livelihood, and some of them even their lives. That is why we directed our main activities, helping our colleagues and their family members now.”
We also have Artem Lapov, he/they, born in 1988, lawyer, Russian intersex activist since 2018, now living in France.
And last but not least we have Gorji Marzban, born in Teheran/Iran, Austrian citizen since 1995. Gorji is a scientist, poet, artist, performer and human rights activist. He is the co-founder of KuuL-Forum of Art and Literature promoting freedom of expression, co-founder of PIOE-Platform of Intersex Austria, an expert compendium to handle with different aspects of being intersexual, co-founder of Queer Base-Support and Help for LGBTIQ+ Asylum Seeker in Austria and ORQOA-Oriental Queer Organisation Austri. Gorji is also the first regular member of VIMÖ- Austrian NGO for defence and Support for Intersex persons in Austria (OII Austria).
As you can see, our panelists have very diverse backgrounds and experiences but also like many intersex people share similar experiences as well.
I would like to address the first question to Julia. Julia, hello, thank you for being able to connect with us today. We really appreciate you, and you are currently still in Ukraine, and you have been bravely supporting other intersex people in the Ukraine this entire time. Despite all the dangers through your own situation in your life.
Could you tell us a little bit how the war impacted your life and other members of intersex community in Ukraine?
Говорити про життя інтерсексів в Україні взагалі важко, а тим більше нелегко говорити під час повномасштабної агресії Росії проти України. Однак життя триває, тому навіть в умовах повітряної тривоги, вибухів ракет, чи то після повідомлень про руйнування, жорстокі катування і масові вбивства, треба далі жити і треба говорити. Бо, тільки поширюючи правдиву інформацію, ми можемо допомагати одне одному, підтримати морально, фізично а при змозі і матеріально.
Війна зруйнувала життя всіх людей в Україні, і інтерсекс не виняток. Декому з нас довелося не один раз змінювати місце проживання, тікаючи від окупації, бомбувань і обстрілів. Одні втратили рідних і близьких, інші загубилися у вирі війни, а дехто, нажаль, загинули. Тому ми всі віримо у нашу перемогу, і чекаємо на неї з нетерпінням.
Від початку створення нашої організації нашою основною метою було просвітництво. Ми намагалися поінформувати суспільство про інтерсексів і тим самим перебудувати ставлення суспільства до інтерсексів. Водночас ми робили кроки, спрямовані на визнання інтерсексів у юридичному полі держави. Через суд ми намагалися змінити документи і тим самим юридично закріпити в Україні поняття інтерсекс.
Однак прийшла війна. Вона перетворила нашу організацію з просвітницької на допомагаючу. Ми ніколи не готувалися до такого. А чи можна взагалі підготуватися до війни? Проте нам довелося оволодіти вміннями і знаннями як допомагати одне одному в критичних ситуаціях повсякденного життя. Це змінило погляди на наше життя і наше мислення.
Ми зіткнулися з величезним браком коштів, бо кількість людей, що потерпають від війни невпинно зростала: люди повсякчас потребують медикаментів, медичної допомоги, одягу, їжі, чистої питної води. Їм потрібна психологічна підтримка, допомога у евакуації, розміщенні або відбудові зруйнованого житла, у пошуку зниклих родичів.
На превеликий жаль (для нас, а можливо на щастя для них) не всі представники міжнародної спільноти уявляють як жити і працювати в умовах війни. Зрештою й ми не знали цього до 24 лютого.
Шкода, що навіть в умовах війни більшість українських правозахисних організацій як повідомляють нам інтерсекс-люди загалом виявили недостатню зацікавленість їм допомагати.
Загалом питання допомоги міжнародної спільноти інтерсексам в України все ще проблематичне. До цього часу, тобто до повномасштабної агресії Росії проти України міжнародна спільнота не часто звертала уваги на проблеми інтерсекс-людей в Україні. Окрім, деяких грантових організації, за що ми їм вдячні.
Деякі присутні знають, що я як інтерсекс більше 10 років борюся за власні права в контексті загальних прав інтерсексів в Україні. Однак у цьому сенсі українське право не є прецедентним і навіть коли мені відмовив ЄСПЛ ніякої підтримки від міжнародної спільноти я не одержала. Так само як і інші інтерсекси в Україні які протягом останніх декількох років шукають підтримки і допомоги на міжнародному рівні.
Водночас хочу наголосити, що деякі наші колеги з ЄС, щиро співчуваючи нам, надали і продовжують надавати нам як матеріальну допомогу, так і допомогу медикаментами, які важко було придбати в Україні на початку повномасштабної війни.
Хочу щиро подякувати всім, хто виявив до нас співчуття і дієву підтримку.
It is generally difficult to talk about the life of intersex people in Ukraine, and it is even more difficult to talk during the full-scale aggression of Russia against Ukraine. However, life goes on, so even in conditions of air raids, rocket explosions, or after reports of destruction, brutal torture and mass murders, one must continue to live and must speak. Because, only by spreading true information, we can help each other, support each other morally, physically and, when possible possible, financially.
The war destroyed the lives of all people in Ukraine, and intersex people is no exception. Some of us had to change our place of residence more than once, fleeing the occupation, bombings and shelling. Some lost relatives and loved ones, others were lost in the maelstrom of war, and some, unfortunately, died. That is why we all believe in our victory and are looking forward to it.
Since the creation of our organisation, our main goal has been education. We tried to raise the awareness of society about intersex people and thereby rebuild society’s attitude towards intersex people. At the same time, we took steps aimed at recognizing intersex people in the legal field of the state. Through the court, we tried to change the documents and thereby legally establish the concept of intersex in Ukraine.
However, the war came. It transformed our organization from an educational one to a helping one. We never prepared for this. Is it even possible to prepare for war? However, we had to master the skills and knowledge of how to help each other in critical situations of everyday life. It has changed our outlook on life and our thinking.
We faced a huge lack of funds, because the number of people suffering from the war was constantly growing: people are always in need of medicines, medical care, clothes, food, clean drinking water. They need psychological support, help in evacuation, placement or reconstruction of destroyed housing, help in looking for missing relatives.
Unfortunately (for us, but perhaps fortunately for them), not all representatives of the international community imagine how to live and work in conditions of war. After all, we did not know this ourselves until February 24.
It is a pity that even in the conditions of war, most Ukrainian human rights organizations, as intersex people tell us, generally showed insufficient interest in helping them.
In general, the international community’s assistance to intersex people in Ukraine is still problematic. Until now, that is, before Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine, the international community did not often pay attention to the problems of intersex people in Ukraine. Apart from some funder organizations, to whom we are grateful.
Some present know that I, as an intersex person, have been fighting for my rights for more than 10 years in the context of the general rights of intersex people in Ukraine. However, in this sense, Ukrainian law is not a precedent, and even when I was refused by the ECtHR, I did not receive any support from the international community. As well as other intersex people in Ukraine who have been looking for support and help at the international level for the past few years.
At the same time, I want to emphasize that some of our colleagues from the EU, sincerely sympathizing with us, provided and continue to provide us with both financial aid and medical aid, which is important due to medicine being difficult to purchase in Ukraine at the beginning of a full-scale war.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who showed us sympathy and effective support.
Thank you very much Julia!
I would like now to ask you Artem, to maybe tell us a little bit more about your experience – as we know, a lot of people had to leave Russia, and you as being as a human rights defender, especially if you are against the war in Ukraine and aggression on Ukraine, situation is getting more and more dangerous.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your experience? And also, tell us in general how, what are the struggles and challenges of intersex people in Russia, which which are maybe exaggerated by the situation of the recent months?
Всем привет! Меня зовут Артем, я интерсекс активист из России. Я расскажу сначала про свой опыт и причины побега из России, а затем про то, чем по моему мнению возможно сейчас помочь таким же как я. Я был вынужден уехать оттуда вместе со своим мужем и сейчас мы живём во Франции. В РФ я был адвокатом, сотрудничал с правозащитными организациями, в основном с интерсекс и ЛГБТ. Опыт такой работы более 10 лет. Я никогда ничего не стеснялся и давал комментарии для СМИ по своим делам или о своей жизни как интерсекс человека под своим настоящим именем. Если начать искать информацию об интерсекс в русскоязычном интернете, то вы гарантированно найдёте статьи об Ирине и обо мне. Но быть открытым интерсекс человеком в России опасно. Из-за непонимания что значит термин происходит дискриминация по ассоциации с ЛГБТ. Но и даже те, кто понимают значение термина «Интерсекс» могут плохо к ним относиться. Я сталкивался и с гомофобной, и с интерсексфобной травлей в свой адрес. В комментариях под статьями, в личных сообщениях, были и попытки совершить изнасилование из интереса.
Три раза меня выкладывали в паблики, связанные с Мужским государством – запрещённой в России экстремистской организацией. Мои личные данные вплоть до адреса становились доступны нескольким десяткам тысяч гомофобов, но государство не стало меня защищать. И даже адвокатский статус не стал здесь аргументом. Более того, из-за жалоб гомофобов полиция хотела возбудить дело уже против меня, за якобы оскорбление чувств верующих. Я не стал дожидаться возбуждения дела и вместе с мужем уехал из России.
Мы приняли такое решение сразу после начала войны и следующих за этим обысков и задержаний моих коллег активистов, которые даже ещё не успели высказаться против. При этом мы успели высказаться против, выйдя на акцию протеста 27 февраля. И ужаснулись от того что за этим последовало. Нужно понимать, что Россия сейчас – это огромный концлагерь. Который до войны был общего режима, а теперь стал строгого. Мы оценили риски лишения свободы для меня как активиста, а у мужа был риск быть призванным на войну из-за медицинского образования. Как я вижу сейчас после начала мобилизации – всё пошло по худшему сценарию из возможных.
Когда мы уезжали, то не выбирали страну для исхода – мы поехали во Францию, чья виза у меня была. В 2019 году на ИЛГЕ я познакомился с французским интерсекс активистом Sarita Guillot из организации Альтер Корпус и сейчас этот контакт очень пригодился. Он помог мне со всеми возможными бюрократическими формальностями и мы до сих пор остаёмся на связи.
Что касается вопроса о том, как можно помочь, поддержать активистов и интерсекс людей:
- Самое очевидное – это помощь с релокацией временной или постоянной. Это помощь в разъяснении какие есть варианты – убежище, гуманитарная виза, просто временное проживание в другой стране. Это и Финансовая помощь. Например, россияне не могут сейчас воспользоваться своими деньгами – это сопряжено с большими сложностями. Имея деньги даже в валюте купить билет без зарубежных карт невозможно. Я больше 9 часов находился на вокзале в Лионе т.к. у меня не было европейской карты, чтобы оплатить билет на поезд, а касс с оплатой наличными там не было предусмотрено.
- Психологическая поддержка. Российская пропаганда нагнетает панику. Европейские новости про инфляцию и рекомендации не отапливать жильё выше 19 градусов тоже не добавляют оптимизма. Кажется, что рушится весь мир и сложно что-то с этим сделать.
- Помощь с контактами, знакомствами в разных странах. При переезде для меня самым сложным является строить социальные связи. Моих друзей, коллег и приятелей из РФ мне очень не хватает. Мне бы хотелось общаться не только онлайн, но и оффлайн с другими интерсекс активистами. Возможно, кто-то из России, Украины или Беларуси собирается во Францию, но не знает, что я тут. А я тут и мог бы помочь пройти процедуру получения убежища, например. И наоборот, наверняка в Лионе, где я сейчас нахожусь, есть интерсекс активисты, с которыми мы могли бы подружиться.
My name is Artem, I am an intersex activist from Russia. I will first tell you about my experiences and reasons for fleeing Russia, and then about what I think is possible to help others like me. I was forced to leave Russia with my husband and we now live in France. In Russia, I was a lawyer, working with human rights organisations, mainly intersex and LGBT. I have more than 10 years of experience in this kind of work. I have never been shy about anything and have commented for the media on my cases or on my life as an intersex person under my real name. If you start looking for information about intersex on the Russian-language internet, you are guaranteed to find articles about Irene and me. But being an openly intersex person in Russia is dangerous. Because of a lack of understanding of what the term means, there is discrimination by association with LGBT people. But even those who understand the meaning of the term “Intersex” can also treat them badly. I have experienced both homophobic and intersexphobic bullying against me. There has been bullying in comments under articles, in private messages, attempts to commit rape out of interest.
On three occasions people posted about me in online groups linked to the Men’s State, an extremist organisation banned in Russia. My personal details, down to my address, became available to several tens of thousands of homophobes, but the state would not protect me. And even my lawyer status did not become an argument here. Moreover, because of the complaints of homophobes the police wanted to initiate a case against me for allegedly insulting the feelings of religious people. I did not wait for the case to be started and left Russia with my husband.
We made this decision right after the war started and the subsequent searches and detentions of my fellow activists, who hadn’t even had time to speak out against it yet. But we had time to speak out against it by joining a public protest on the 27th of February. We were horrified by what followed. You have to understand that Russia is now a huge concentration camp. Which before the war was a general one and now is a strict one. We assessed the risks of imprisonment for me as an activist and also my husband had the risk of being conscripted to the war because of his education in the medical fiels. The way I see it now, after the mobilisation started, it all went according to the worst possible scenario.
When we left, we didn’t get to choose a country – we went to France, a country I has a visa to. In 2019 at ILGA I met French intersex activist Sarita Guillot from Alter Corps, and now that contact has come very much in handy. They helped me with all the possible bureaucratic formalities and we are still in touch.
Regarding the question of how you can help, support activists and intersex people:
The most obvious is to help with temporary or permanent relocation. Explaining what the options are is helpful too – whether its asylum, humanitarian visa, just temporary residence in another country. Financial assistance too. For example, Russians cannot use their money now – it is very difficult. Having money, even in foreign currency, to buy a ticket without foreign cards is impossible. I once spent more than 9 hours at a railway station in Lyon because I did not have a European card to pay for my train ticket and there tickets machines where you could pay with cash available.
Psychological support. Russian propaganda is whipping up panic. European news about inflation and recommendations not to heat up homes above 19 degrees does not add to optimism either. The whole world seems to be collapsing and it is hard to do anything about it.
Help with contacts, meeting people in different countries. When moving, the most difficult thing for me is to build new social connections. I miss my friends, colleagues and pals from Russia very much. I would like to communicate not only online but also in person with other intersex activists. Maybe someone from Russia, Ukraine or Belarus is going to France, but does not know that I am here. And I am here and could help with the asylum procedure, for example. And vice versa, there are probably intersex activists in Lyon, where I am now, who we could be friends with.
Thank you so much for for your sharing your experience and thoughts, and thank you also for offering help for other people in a similar situation, we all appreciate that.
And thank you also for mentioning Belarus and people who try to escape from from that regime.
And before we move to questions, I would like to invite our next panelist, Gorji.
We know that intersex people can still face many barriers when crossing borders, and also in the refugee centers and in the asylum procedures, one of the barriers in this particular conflict is for example that people with the male gender marker who are aged between 18 to 60 cannot leave Ukraine, for example, because the obliged to fight in war. And there is continued lack of support and consideration for our specific needs. There is also still a huge knowledge gap among professionals who work with refugees, and that includes intersex refugees, among them.
Based off many years of your professional and personal experience and working with LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers, could you please explain all these barriers and tell us what are additional struggles for intersex people in the light of this conflict of the Russian aggression on Ukraine?
So thank you very much for inviting me to this panel.
Thank you, Tim for your description of what is going on and the circumstances in Russia, and also on the way to a safe country.
And also thank you very much to Julia, we are very close good friends for very long time. As I have met Julia’s brother in Vienna, it was the very beginning of our Intersex activism.
And I must confess that there are circumstances, which are created now by the Russian invasion in Europe, that are very similar to all other type of the wars in different areas of the world.
My experience began with the foundation of ORQOA – Oriental Queer Organization Austria, by which we started to support LGBTIQ asylum seekers from all over the world.
So they they’re all in countries with dictatorships with police controls. And that means that the state is involved in the persecution of the people. So they were not only exposed to their social resentment, they were also threatened by the state and the legislations.
So, people decided by themselves to leave their countries. We have never encouraged people to flee. However, we have started to support them as soon as we were informed that they are on fleeing.
The support was a package which contained financial and moral aid for each person on the way to a third safe country. We put lots of efforts in fundraising to get money and find people who were willing to give company to the people. A one-to-one treatment.
We, however, have monitored the procedure, and kept presence in all of the teams that supporters talking to each asylum seeker, who was on fleeing not to feel alone .
So it was a functional support for this person, until they arrived in a corridor country like Turkey, at that time, or India, or in Malaysia somewhere, which was safer for those asylum seekers.
From there, we could involve international organizations like UNHCR and/or EU-FRAU. Red Cross, could give special medication or medical support. But it was always very individually and did not function for every person. Due to limited sources you cannot do everything for everybody. If you are lucky that the organization which is supporting the person is looking for further support for this person, but not for everybody.
However, we could find really good co-operation partners, that could support the people in the in the corridor country last until they are coming into a safe country like Canada, Germany, Australia, Sweden etc. etc.. So there are countries that are more permissive to give easier asylum to LGBTIQ individuals coming from different countries of the world and from Africa, where they are exposed the most difficult circumstances.
We have found people that were ready to provide safe rooms for these people.
And I think it is a good, it’s a good solution for the people that are in. In Russia, because the country is structurally against LGBTIQ persons.
So that would be a nice idea to find people who are, who can support for and give them a roof even, when there fleeing within their own countries.
And then search for donations to support them financially if they decide to leave the country and go to another, in the neighborhood, another country which is more tolerance to LGBTIQ individuals.
And I think the time acclaim a second challenge, and I have also another point that I would like to set into the center and find a way to contact the Ukrainian government.
They must have an ear for that which you have also mentioned about the problem of the, of the ID cards and passports, which is a very important issue.
Up to now, we have not an intersex individual, who asked for asylum or a person who defined himself as intersex, so that we always are talking about gender diverse, or transgender persons, okay, they have never said they might be ntersex, even if they were. They said only they are transgender, or they have a gender identity, which cannot confirmed by their travel documents.
And we know that it is very difficult in Ukraine, and how long it needs to get a really conform biometric passport, which is intended for crossing the borders into EU.
And that is something which the government in Ukraine can help and actually they have to help their people, to support them to cross the borders to EU.
Based on the legislation in Ukraine, their people which are formally or officially got the registration, or due to sex markers in the ID card intersex or transgender persons are obliged to go to the military service, and also serve the country.
However, we know that there are there are even systemic sexual violence and psychological pressure on these people in the army. I have read about a about the story of a Victor P. in 2018.
It was the first the first homosexual soldier in Ukrainian army, who came out with that, and organized a group of the of homosexuals soldiers in the military, and they had events to assigned, which is a unicorn insignia to show that they are out homosexuals.
If they were saved, then they would also given the truth to everybody. I don’t think that it is so and also there is also very recently there is a publication from the Lancet, that is the very famous medical Journal and say that it is a really big challenge now, before they put a transgender persons in Ukraine, which are facing different problems inside the Ukraine borders. I didn’t even know that that there are internal checkpoints inside Ukraine, that means if you want to go from one province into other there are some checkpoints. And in these checkpoints they ask for your ID cards. If it is not conform with your gender identity, then you can face different type of of difficulties, and even get arrested. There are reports from UN, also by the TGU that is European and Central Asia and transgender which tell that they have real reports on this issue.
It is all very important and eminent that we try to contact the government in Ukraine and EU Commission and give them the information and our demands.
The other thing that also our team has performed is giving thew information to the public and to asylum seeker in a language they understand.
In particular, the asylum seekers must have access to the asylum-related information, and this information should be communicated to the camp reception. Info-booklets in Ukrainian language that is there and when people are arriving has access to.
Nobody would identify herself as transgender, very very rarely people would confess that because they are coming from a country which is not tolerant to their status.
What happened to the general population and even when you are in this in this category, then you would be lost, actually, I think what Julia has tried to say is, first of all, everybody is affected by the consequences of the war, and additionally, you have your own individual story which you have to cope with that and this was not easy even in the peace time and very complicated. ,In addition all of the countries have different medical services. Therefore the topic of the fundraising and collection of the donations are very fundamental issue, to support people in acute situations.
We need communication, we should maintain this communication with the refugee centers and also retain crossing border offices or record or reception offices there, and we have to give them some training about this issue.
That is what we have done it also in Austria because they were not trained on the topic, they didn’t know what is an intersex what is a transgender person. There, we used the support of UNHCR.
And the next thing is,medical assistance, which is a crucial issue for intersex individuals, and we should have also implemented it in the communication with the border officers. I think all these issues are interconnected. And we should always take advantage of already established organizations, which has established connections to different institutions and can reactivate their networks on demand.
Yeah, we don’t need to create something new. And the other thing what I think Julia has tried to tell us, is, that intersex organization in Ukraine needs directly grants and donation to support intersex persons in Ukraine.
Not everybody is willing to leave the country, even if it is a war, and Ukraine, is a huge country, so it is big enough to for fleeing through and keep distance to the regions affected by the war. So people can find somewhere within Ukrainian borders, as a safe area that is not under bombardment. But, but they can stay in there could, if you check the statistics about the refugees coming from Ukraine you see that three millions have already returned back mainly because it is not so easy to live abroad as a refugee. Even if you are very well coming in EU.
Our main task is to empower intersex people of Ukraine and put pressure on all the European institutions to empower the Ukraine Intersex organizations, and find find rapid solution for the identification cards and issuing of the biometric passport.
And if there is any questions, I would love to answer if I can.
Thank you so much Gorji.
And now we would like to share a quote from young intersex person whose life as a young dancer and choreographer was interrupted, and who had to leave Ukraine because of the war. The quote was translated by Irene from Ukrainian to English and I’m going to just read it up now.
Війна почалась коли я була у подружки в Бучі. Ми лежали у ванній, накрившись одіялом, підвалу не було. Ми бачили ракети за вікном і не могли в це повірити. Тато подружки сказав,що у нас є 15 хв щоб виїхати бо російська техніка буде під будинком.
Далі довга дорога, з речей у мене тільки паспорт телефон і зарядка.
Мені дуже пощастило вибратись в перші дні. Батьків я не бачила уже більше ніж пів року. А на міцсі будинку де я зустріла війну-величезна яма від ракети.
За один день змінилось все.
Зараз у Берліні, я у відносній безпеці, бомби не падають на голову і це класно. Величезне спасибі інтерсекс спільноті за підтримку у такий час!
Але війна все ще триває і її кінця не видно. Я не знаю коли повернусь додому, і чи взагалі буде куди повертатись. А я хочу бути вільною і в безпеці.
Мені здається що ця війна трапилась через таких як я. Таких, які просто хотіли рухатись і закривали очі на те, що дійсно потребувало уваги.
Коли в нас забрали Крим мені було 14 років. З тих пір я почала задавати собі і світу питання, яких не мало б бути в житті дитини 21го сторіччя. Чому одна країна може дозволитяти собі все що захоче протягом дясятиліть? Я думала про це все, злилась, а після шла до зали танцювати. І пориналась у свій нормальний звичний світ, де війна це все ще щось ілюзорне і нереальне.
Коли я здавала іспити в інститут я думала лише про те які в мене будуть одногрупники, що я буду вдягати на заняття. А в цей самий час підписувались кончені мінські угоди, які були умовною завісою за всім тим жахом, який назрівав.
Коли я почала працювати я переймалася тим, чи пройду я кастинги на проекти, чи буду я хорошим хореографом, в чому взагалі сенс танцю, в чому сенс руху? Я бачила новини про те, як наші хлопці вмирають в котлах на сході, як корупція і стає головною жилкою політики, в той самий час росія озброювалась, готувалась до війни, закручувала останні подихи свободи слова, вбивала журналістів, які намагалися говорити правду! В цей час, так, я бляха думала про те в чому сенс руху!
Я закохувалась, знаходила роботи, мріяла з друзями про майбутній театр, а російська військова техніка стягувалась десятками тисяч до кордонів моєі країни.
Я шукала сенс любові, мистецтва, танцю.
Війна прийшла до мене 24 лютого, і підкрадається все ближче і ближче уже як 218 днів. Ближче уже нема куди.
Мої очі відкриті і я буду боротись, як вмію.
Усі вміють. Лише варто розплющити очі і звернути увагу на те , що потребує уваги. Скидуючи хочаб малі гроші на допомогу постраждалим, притулкам та організаціям це вже великий крок до перемоги, до Волі.
Мене звати Оля,і це моя війна.
The war started when I was at my friend’s place in Bucha. We were lying in the bathroom, covered with a blanket, because there was no basement to hide in. We saw rockets outside the window, and we could not believe it. My girlfriend’s father said that we had 15 minutes to leave because Russian army would be soon near the house.
Then it was a long way, I had only my passport, phone and charger.
I was very lucky to get out in the first days. I have not seen my parents for more than six months. And at the place of the house where I was hiding in the beginning of war there is now a huge pit from a rocket instead of the house.
Everything changed in one day.
Right now, I am in Berlin, in relative safety. No bombs are falling on my head. Many thanks to the intersex community for their support at such a time!
But the war is still going on and there is no end in sight. I do not know when I will return home, and whether there will be a place to return to. And I want to be free and safe.
I think that this war happened because of people like me. Those who just wanted to move on and turned a blind eye to what really needed attention.
When Crimea was taken away from us, I was 14 years old. Since then, I started asking myself and the world questions that should not be in the life of a child of the 21st century. Why can one country do whatever it wants to do for millennia? I thought about it all, got angry, and then went to the hall to dance. And plunged into my normal world, where war is still something illusory and unreal.
When I passed the entry exams to the institute, I thought only what my future classmates would be like, what I would wear to classes. And at the same time, the Minsk agreements were being signed, which were a conditional veil for all the horror that was brewing.
When I started working, I was worried about whether I would pass the auditions for projects, whether I would be a good choreographer, what is the meaning of dance, what is the meaning of movement? I saw the news about how our guys were dying in the east, how corruption was becoming the main vein of politics, at the same time Russia was arming itself, preparing for war, twisting the last breaths of freedom of speech, killing journalists who tried to tell the truth! At that time, yes, I bloody thought about what the meaning of the dance was!
I was falling in love, finding work, dreaming with my friends about the theater, while Russian military equipment was being brought by tens of thousands to the borders of my country.
I was looking for the meaning of love, art, dance.
The war came to me on February 24, and has been creeping closer and closer for 218 days. It can’t get any closer.
My eyes are open and I will fight as best I know how.
Everyone can. You just need to open your eyes and pay attention to what needs attention. Donating at least a little money to help the victims, shelters and organizations is already a big step towards victory, towards freedom.
My name is Olya, and this is my war.
With this very very poignant quote in my opinion I would like to thank you all for your attendance and your attention.
We hope that this was informative and a stimulating event. And with this, I give a floor to Dan.
Dan Christian Ghattas
Thanks to all the panelists thanks to the wonderful personal provided to quote.
Before we go into break I want to raise a beacon of hope because all of this is very difficult and very hard, but what I can see is that we stand together, we stand together as intersex community, we stand together as allies. You all being here today is standing together, and this is the best, the most important thing we can do.
At OII Europe we’re working on a toolkit for professionals who work with refugees and asylum seekers, which hopefully will be useful for you too.
And let me say one thing about financial support. As many said, the problem is that in the situation of a war you cannot collect receipts, you cannot write a budget, you cannot provide many documents.
OII Europe is supporting intersex people in Ukraine, and intersex refugees and the families, because we have a funder who just at the beginning of the war dropped 10,000 euros on our bank account and wrote us an email, saying to use it for anything that is needed, no receipts needed.
This is why can do this. So, if you’re a funder, if you have contacts to funders, let them know this is what is needed. It needs the devotion to just drop money on organizations bank account, so that this organization can give it right away to the people that need it. Thank you.