Closeted trans youth chased home, naked and bleeding, after being stripped, handcuffed, raped and robbed by his date
A gang of four men and one woman chased a closeted trans youth, naked and bleeding, along a road in Ukraine after a violent and prolonged assault in which they stripped him naked, handcuffed him, raped him and beat him up.
The 19-year-old youth, who local media have identified as a closeted trans woman who uses he/him pronouns, remains in hospital in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, after the brutal attack.
He needs surgery for a broken nose, which he is unable to get because of coronavirus restrictions.
The youth, who has not been named due to safety concerns, met a 17-year-old man for what he thought would be a date on April 29.
The pair met via a dating app and planned to go for drinks by the river in Zhytomyr, a city 140km west of Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
According to local media translations of the police report, the 17-year-old knew that the 19-year-old identified as a trans woman before the date.
While he reacted negatively to the information at first, he then suggested that they meet up, buy beers and drink them by the river.
But when they got there, the 17-year-old forced the 19-year-old to perform oral sex on him.
He then made a phonecall and took his victim into some bushes.
According to LGBT+ rights activists in Ukraine, he beat the closeted trans youth until a car arrived with four young men and one young woman in.
The harrowing details of what followed were contained in the police report: the attackers stripped the 19-year-old naked, handcuffed him, broke his nose, sexually assaulted him and threatened to kill him.
The entire attack was filmed on mobile phones.
After several hours, during which the 19-year-old says he was sometimes unconscious and unsure of how many people had raped him, the violent gang forced him to walk home, naked and bleeding, while they followed him in the car.
Before he reached home, they threatened him with a knife and demanded money.
But the police in Ukraine – where hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are not currently recognised – have told a different version of events.
Zhytomyr police are investigating the incident solely as a robbery, and claim that the assault was “a conflict between young men”.
They said that the oral sex between the pair was consensual, and that the robbery occurred because the victim “posed as a woman on a dating app and came to the date dressed in feminine clothing and wearing makeup”.
“One of the partners suspected that he had (actually) not met with a girl, and a conflict broke out between them,” the official press release states. “During the fight, a car passed by the young men. The driver and passengers intervened in the situation.”
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The victim, who claims the medical exam given to him by police did not contain a rape kit, is convinced that the attack was motivated by homophobia and transphobia.
He remains in hospital and has found a lawyer.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, an expert at LGBT+ organisation Nash Svit, told The Kyiv Post that the homophobic slurs used by the attackers during the assault point to the fact that it was a hate crime.
According to Zinchenko, in 2019 there were 123 incidents of crimes motivated by homophobia and transphobia in Ukraine.
Victims are sometimes hunted down on gay dating apps, with the assailants meeting them for “dates” and then robbing them.
The victims rarely go to the police, Zinchenko said, because of fear of discrimination.
A bill that would make hate crimes against LGBT+ people a specific offence has been proposed in Ukraine, but has faced massive pushback from Christian groups.