Story 16:15 28 Apr 2021

"For some reason, I'm being kept here by higher powers": transgender veteran Viktoria Didukh

Lack of understanding of one's gender identity, the need to pretend to be another person, and fear that the loved ones won't understand and support. Viktoria Didukh, a transgender veteran who took part in the battles for Avdiivka, had to face everything. Find out about her long way to self-acceptance and active work of the association "Ukrainian LGBT military for equal rights" in our article

"If I'm a sinner, take me away"

Once, even before my coming out publicly, a leading Ukrainian TV channel shot a story about me. And they called a story "Viktoria, a transgender suicide veteran." Yes, I did have suicide attempts. And among trans people, it's not uncommon. But all this is directly related to social rejection. Even at the stage of accepting, there are thoughts that "everyone will turn away from me," "how will parents perceive, fellow villagers will harass them," "and I require so much money for transition." And all these thoughts cause you to do something with yourself.

I remember a moment from a drama film where a man holds a blade in his hand and wants to cut his hands and then throws it away. I had that moment. And then I moved on.

I was taking a crazy amount of medication; it was 4 times the lethal dose. But the body didn't sense it in any way, there wasn't even a stomach upset. Then I began to think: if I'm a sinner, take me away. For some reason, I'm being kept here, in this world. The same thing happened with the pills twice.

For some time, I was in the anti-terrorist operation in the covering line. There was a distance of about 50 meters between us and the occupants. We threw grenades at each other under the tank-cut. Then I got to the reference line and got my only injury, a head injury. And, imagine, literally, 5 minutes after a serious injury, I was sitting and smoking a cigarette.

I was rehabilitated, stayed at the military base for half a year, and asked to go back. I went to rotation. It was 2017. That's how I served until 2019, and then I was "overwhelmed" by terrible dysphoria. I thought that on combat duty, I'd blow my brains out with the machine gun because I could no longer wear this mask. I realized my condition and only then turned to a psychologist.

I had a contract signed, and I realized that for a while I wouldn't be able to change myself; there's a certain barrier, appearance norms, military statute. Months and years have already passed. The earlier a person starts hormonal therapy, the more he/she can enter society and better change appearance.

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