How does it feel to be trans in Russia?

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Transgender student Sorrel Rosin (R) poses with a friend February 25 2017 in Chicago as hundreds of transgender supporters protest against the Trump administration's reversal of federal protections of bathroom rights, warning it risked exposing young people to hate-fueled violence. Rosin, a high school student in Illinois, said Ive felt a spike in homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, misogyny in and out of school." / AFP / Derek R. HENKLE (Photo credit should read DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Maya Demidova is 28 years old and she is a transgender woman living in Moscow. She contacted Attitude magazine to tell about the struggles of her community because it is impossible for her to speak out about it in her own country. Demidova’s mother, father and grandmother all died before she came out as transgender, the only person remained alive among her nearest and dearest was her grandpa, but he insulted and offended her repeatedly when she came out to him, so she was made to leave her home. In recent years, the pair have been repairing their relationship and now, while he does not understand what being transgender is, he learnt to call his grandchild Maya and to use female pronouns. Discrimination came from outside of her family too, from her friends who are not friends anymore and just random people on the street. However, she cannot turn to the police to see justice as she says they would “laugh in her face”. “The police hate people like me,” she said. “They think if I’ve been raped it’s my fault.” As well as facing violent discrimination, Demidova cannot access many of the necessities including hormones and surgery, despite it being legal for trans people to change their legal gender since 1997. Demidova says that the climate is getting “worse and worse” for the LGBTQ community, so much so that her one hope is that she is not killed in the next four years when the next elections are due to be held. However, she doesn’t want to leave Russia because she feels she should see the fight for equality through to the end.

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