Sweden: Trans woman ‘in hiding’ to escape deportation to Russia

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A Russian trans woman refused asylum in Sweden appears today to be defying Swedish authorities by refusing to aid them in their efforts to deport her to Russia.

“Lita” had been ordered by the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to attend a meeting on Monday morning, preparatory to being deported this week. She failed to attend and, it is now understood through contacts, has “gone into hiding” while she prepares further grounds for appeal.

In one of her last conversations with PinkNews.co.uk, Lita asked supporters to help her in any way they could. She told us: “that could be through a petition, through writing to the Swedish authorities. Anything!”

Ulrika Westerlund, President of RFSL, Sweden’s largest organisation for LGBT rights and one of the oldest such organisations in the the world, expressed her concerns for Lita.

She said: “The problem appears to be twofold. First, while Russia is not the world’s best of places as far as LGBT rights are concerned, it is far from the worst – and it´s currently not considered “bad enough” by the migration authorities in Sweden. It’s very difficult for LGBT people from Russia to get asylum in Sweden.

“Two, it’s obvious that Swedish authorities do not always fully understand trans issues, which may have contributed to the result in this case. The situation for trans people in Russia can be descried as a true catch 22-situation – it’s hard to argue that it is possible to live openly and safely as a trans person in Russia. And the situation is also rapidly deteriorating in the cities where the anti-LGBT propaganda laws are in effect.”