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A year after Ukraine invasion, trans people struggle for hormones

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As Russia’s invasion shuttered pharmacies across Ukraine last February, Kira Gordon knew she was running out of the hormone pills she needs to take each day as a transgender woman.

The stress was so overwhelming that Gordon struggled to get through the first month of the invasion. “I couldn’t eat or drink,” said Gordon, 23, who lives in the capital Kyiv. “It was a terrifying experience, and after that I started stocking up on tablets and medicines.” Stopping hormone treatment can bring serious physical and mental health impacts, from depression and anxiety to increased cancer risks, said a briefing about the war’s impact on trans people released last year by LGBTQ+ rights group ILGA-Europe.

Transitioning has always been tough in Ukraine. Trans people often encounter discrimination from doctors and struggle to access gender affirming health care such as hormones and surgery.

Updating legal documents can also be a long process. As Ukraine marks a year since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, LGBTQ+ activists say the conflict has worsened the challenges.

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