2021 Photo Contest, World Press Photo of the Year Nominee

The Transition: Ignat


Oleg Ponomarev

23 April, 2020

Ignat, a transgender man, sits with his girlfriend Maria in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Ignat was bullied throughout his school years, and confronted by the school psychologist following rumors that he spoke about himself using the masculine gender. Ignat opened up to the psychologist about his gender identity—the first stranger to whom he had told everything—but asked to keep it a secret. The whole school found out, and the insults and humiliations became permanent. Many LGBTQ+ people in Russia keep low profiles because of stigmatization against non-traditional sexuality. An amendment to the Russian constitution, made in July 2020, stipulates that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, with no other options possible. Although an attempt was made to make a further amendment preventing transgender people from changing their status on legal documents, it was not passed. Transgender people can marry, but the road there is difficult. Transgender people also face very specific challenges when accessing their economic, social, and cultural rights, as their gender is not legally recognized. This results in transgender people having no access to transition-related healthcare services, or official support against discrimination. 

About the photographer

Oleg Ponomarev

Oleg Ponomarev is a freelance photographer based in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  He works on long-term projects focusing on social issues in contemporary Russia, and ethnog...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Nikon D800

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