Out of Ukraine. In Ukraine

14.08.2022 | cb — No comments

For a few days now, portraits of Ukrainian LGBTIQ* people have been displayed in the windows of the diversity Café, Blumenstraße 29. They are clearly visible from the outside, describing lives of queer people in and with the war. Some help, some fight, others run.

What to do? Stay, leave?

War is always about decisions: Should I leave the country? Do I stay? How can I support my family and, last but not least, the community to which I belong? These twelve portraits provide rare insights to such questions. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, non-binary, trans* and queer people from Ukraine tell us their stories. We present three of them here:

There is, for example, Nika Nazarenko, 24 years old, from Kharkiv. The trans* woman works as a designer. Until February 24, her life was quite exciting: She drew animated clips for a big TV station.

Nikita, trans* woman from Kharkiv, 24 years old

Now she uses her skills to explain to people how to behave in case of an air alert. And, of course, she also tells stories that are meant to give hope. “But there are fewer and fewer of those,” she says.

Arthur Ozerov, 33, from Kyiv, is a drag queen. As AuRa, the gay artist is performing on stage. Before the war started, he didn’t even think of having his coming out. Recently, someone else did it for him and he was in total panic – coming out in the middle of a war!

Arthur, drag queen from Kyiv, 33 years old

But everything went well, everyone stayed calm, friendly, showed openness. “Ukraine’s society is changing incredibly fast at the moment,” says Arthur. “We are rethinking everything and creating a new country.”

Nastya hopes for a quick victory. Photo: KyivPride

And finally, Nastja Konfederat, 32, from Kyiv, lesbian. The drone pilot is very hopeful that the war will bring equal rights and acceptance for LGBTIQ*. She was a fitness instructor before 24 February, but now her job in the army is more important to her. “Right now it’s all about how to accelerate the victory.”

Nastya, lesbian. Drone pilot in the Ukrainian army

Fortunately, she has a commander with integrity who doesn’t care “who sleeps with whom”. Her comrades don’t make fun of her. “We have too much work for that. We as queer people have to be visible. Because it’s a war of freedom – for every single one of us.”

Over the past few months, KyivPride has interviewed women* and men* about their lives before and after the war started. The results are sensitive self-portraits of people of all possible gender identities and sexual orientations who bravely face their fate.

When: August 2022
Where: diversity Café, Blumenstraße 29, Munich
Organised by: KyivPride, Munich Kyiv Queer

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