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Luli is an animation artist, a transwoman who dreams of becoming a Ukrainian film director. Her transition almost coincided with the start of the full-scale invasion, so her life had completely changed in the past year.

About myself

I live in Kyiv and work as an animator, that is, I do animation, previously in the film industry, and now for mobile games. I have been doing this for 8 years, and now I am also studying directing in order to fulfill my long time dream. Even as a child, when asked "who do you want to become?" I answered that I wanted to make cartoons. At the moment, my ambition is to start with short films, to make a statement at festivals, and then, I hope, I will be able to fulfill my dream of making a feature-length film.

About hobbies

Before the full-scale invasion, I had two favorite hobbies - photography and birdwatching. In my case, photography is conceptual street shots, where I can spend several hours on the spot in search of the right perspective and light. I used to photograph what would now be considered important infrastructure objects. So, obviously, I can't do it now. As for birdwatching - I took binoculars, a phone and looked at something for three hours - of course, this is also impossible now, because it can arouse suspicion of the law enforcement officers. So in the meantime I'm learning to play the ukulele and studying screenwriting and direction.

About the way to myself

It's a process. It never happens that a person wakes up one morning and suddenly realizes that their body does not match their inner sense of self. I first thought about wanting to be a girl when I was a child, at the age of 4-5. Around the time when the child goes outside on his own - I was born in ‘94, children were still allowed then to spend time outside on their own from a very young age. It was the first interaction with society outside my home, there was a certain social division among children on playgrounds that depended on gender associated interests. I realized that I am not very comfortable with boys, that I was always invited to go out with girls. In general, I spent most of my childhood talking to senior ladies instead of playing with other children. The idea of starting the transition came up several years ago, and the actual beginning of hormone therapy was a couple of months before the start of the full-scale invasion. Then there was a public coming out: in the second month of the invasion, I made a post on social media about me being a transwoman and going through a third month of hormone therapy already. There were those who supported me and the ones who said this wasn’t news because they already knew. There were a lot of such reactions, which surprised me. I did not receive any negative feedback, at least from the society bubble and the circle of followers I have, everyone took it normally and calmly.

About medicine and bureaucracy

Now it has become faster and easier to make a transition in Ukraine, as far as I can understand. Before, for example, there was a procedure where it took up to a year for a psychiatric examination only, now it takes up to a month. You get a referral to an endocrinologist from your general practice doctor, you pass tests and health screenings, and the doctor prescribes you hormone therapy. However, in the field of medicine, I still sometimes encounter misunderstandings. I am not refused service, but there are cases of strange treatment. There was a situation when the general practice doctor did not want to help me continue the transition legally, but it is good that now there is an opportunity to choose a doctor and you can always go to another one. As for the legal side, this procedure is not yet well-developed and not well understood by many civil servants – problems may arise, so you need to be a legally aware person to go through it. The trans community in Ukraine helps a lot with this, people share tips and tricks on how to make the transition easier and faster.

About what the war changed

As the full-scale invasion began, I became interested in activism, and for me it was more about volunteering and helping the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The invasion changed many of us fundamentally, I feel like a different person than I was before the war. Of course, my transition had a big impact on my self-awareness as well. Hormonal therapy also affects the brain, including the way we think and experience emotions, so in my case it all overlapped. It was the war that made me realize that we can die at any moment, so the concept of delayed life became completely irrelevant for me. I immediately started doing something, implementing my own plans in life, I understood my values, I came out, my social role changed drastically. That is, my life has changed very much within literally a couple of months, it affected my character and self-perception as well.

About Anoeses x KyivPride project

I agreed to this project for several reasons. First of all, I really like to be photographed, to be honest, I'm a bit of a narcissist in this regard. Secondly, publicity is my element, because as a director I feel comfortable in it. Thirdly, I really like to convey my position, opinion in different ways. And fourthly, I believe that my voice as a trans person from Ukraine is needed in the media space. I hear many voices of trans people who were able to leave the country, but very little in the media of those who stayed in the country.

For me…

Freedom is the opposite of what is described in Orwell's book 1984. This is when you are not told that freedom is slavery, because freedom is rights and security.

Courage is not being afraid of your own desires, listening to your inner child and fulfilling your creative potential like a child.

Beauty is nature, because nature is the beginning of everything in the world.

Love is harmony with the world, and love between people is a harmonious joint contemplation of the world.

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