What big life events have you gone through recently?
The main event was getting into hormone replacement therapy. When you are a boy and everyone around you perceives you as a boy and then suddenly hormones start to work, and you don't look like a boy anymore. People get confused. In Russia it can make you feel unsafe. I have been taking hormones daily for ten years and I’ve started to look more and more feminine, it makes me so happy. Also, I have a female ID now.
The second very important event for me, was getting involved in activism. At the moment I’m working on the Elton John Safe Box project– which is the distribution of HIV self-tests and gathering support groups for trans-people.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Maybe it doesn’t sound feminist but for me it is taking on societal roles meant for women and not being judged for it. To have the opportunity and the right, to look and act like a woman.
And being an LGBTQ+ woman?
It means being an activist. I wouldn’t come out as transgender if I didn’t do activism. No matter how tolerant and educated the person is – my transgender experience always comes first for them. And all I want is to be perceived as a woman.
How do you celebrate Women’s Day?
Maybe I’m not that informed yet about feminism, but it was great to get presents and be acknowledged. I do know that there is a deeper meaning to this holiday, but I was so happy when someone wished me happy Women’s Day for the first time!
What is needed to advance equality in Russia?
I think it is important to work with the next generation. The way sexuality and gender are taught to children greatly influences society. I think we can reach equality faster if we start by teaching the right values within the home. Social roles are shifting, both for men and women, in the whole world – including in Russia. I think we are living in a very interesting age.