Life

The Transgender Day of Visibility takes on a different meaning when you’re covering a war

3/5/22: A boy looks out the window on a train that is being held at the Ukrainian - Polish for entry into Poland.
3/5/22: A boy looks out the window on a train that is being held at the Ukrainian - Polish for entry into Poland. Photo: Sarah Ashton-Cirillo

Reporting from a war zone as a transgender journalist is something I don’t think about often while on the ground here in Ukraine. Today is different.

While being trans doesn’t define me, on the Transgender Day of Visibility I am compelled to embrace my place on the gender spectrum – not out of a sense of duty but because it is truly an honor to carry the identifier “transgender female.”

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Visibility doesn’t just matter for trans and nonbinary people, it matters for every group that has been marginalized, for every person who has been unjustly attacked and maligned. And on this TDOV that would include the tens of millions of Ukrainians under attack from Russian lies and Russian armaments.

Having been in Europe covering Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion of its land for four weeks now, my travels have taken me across a nation in conflict. From refugees waiting to be processed into Poland, to soldiers preparing to kill the enemy, residents here have invited me to witness their efforts of living during a state of war.

The following photos offer a glimpse into those lives and society in the days and weeks after the fighting began.

3/17/22: An entire block of Kharkiv destroyed after Russian shelling and bombing.
3/17/22: An entire block of Kharkiv destroyed after Russian shelling and bombing.
3/11/22: Patriotic fervor on an advertisement in Lviv.
3/11/22: Patriotic fervor on an advertisement in Lviv.
3/22/22: A man carrying his daughter on the streets of Lviv.
3/22/22: A man carrying his daughter on the streets of Lviv.
3/18/22: The mangled remains of two cars on a Kharkiv roadside.
3/18/22: The mangled remains of two cars on a Kharkiv roadside.
3/12/22: Group in a bomb shelter in Ivano-Frankvisk the night after the city was attacked.
3/12/22: Group in a bomb shelter in Ivano-Frankvisk the night after the city was attacked.
3/23/22: In central Ukraine, store shelves begin to empty.
3/23/22: In central Ukraine, store shelves begin to empty.
3/19/22: A neighborhood patrol group grills fish outside during their shift in Lviv.
3/19/22: A neighborhood patrol group grills fish outside during their shift in Lviv.
3/13/22: A billboard, towering over anti-tank spikes, offering a memorial to a fallen Ukrainian Armed Forces member in Lviv
3/13/22: A billboard, towering over anti-tank spikes, offering a memorial to a fallen Ukrainian Armed Forces member in Lviv
3/12/22: A couple tries to find rest in a bomb shelter during air raid in Ivano-Frankivsk.
3/12/22: A couple tries to find rest in a bomb shelter during air raid in Ivano-Frankivsk.
3/19/22: A Ukrainian security service member's equipment on the floor of an apartment in Lviv.
3/19/22: A Ukrainian security service member’s equipment on the floor of an apartment in Lviv.
3/10/22: A woman sits alone in an empty square in central Lviv.
3/10/22: A woman sits alone in an empty square in central Lviv.
3/9/22: Crowds of people trying to reach trains leaving Ukraine for Poland - Lviv Central Train Station
3/9/22: Crowds of people trying to reach trains leaving Ukraine for Poland – Lviv Central Train Station
3/6/22: A family on the streets of Lviv proudly poses for a patriotic photo less than two weeks after the Russian army invaded Ukraine.
3/6/22: A family on the streets of Lviv proudly poses for a patriotic photo less than two weeks after the Russian army invaded Ukraine.

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