For Freedom! The fight of Ukraine’s LGBTIQ* for self-determination in war times

27.10.2022 | cb — No comments

With an exhibition and a documentary, Kyiv’s and Munich’s communities provide insights into the fates of queer people in Ukraine. Lenny Emson from KyivPride will host both events.

City Councillor Dominik Krause is invited to open the two events at the vernissage of the exhibition “I am FROM Ukraine. I am IN Ukraine” on November 3 at 7.30 pm in the gay community centre SUB. On November 4, the lesbian-queer centre LeZ will present the film “KyivPride 2022: For Ukraine! For Victory!”

War is always about decisions: Should I, do I have leave the country? Will I fight? Or do I stay to somehow continue living my life? And then, how am I able to survive?

KyivPride meets WarsawPride 2022. Screenshot / YouTube / KyivPride

In Ukraine, queer people cannot trust to be in good hands in their city, families, workplace and, of course, the army. This is because of the homophobic and trans-hostile experiences they have often had in their lives.

Queer people are often isolated

Besides the need for basic help – many people urgently need food, clothing, (HIV) medication, hormones, documents – LGBTIQ* cannot naturally fall back on established support structures like other people. Friends, often the families of choice, have left the country with everybody being on the run.

Whom can I trust? Where may I get help? How will I bear all the fear and suffering?

For Freedom! Flyer: Stas Mishchenko / Photo: KyivPride

In the midst of war, Ukraine’s LGBTIQ* community continues to fight for self-determination against the external as well as the internal enemy. And they are doing so with all the (creative) means at their disposal.

Insights about this struggle are provided by two events hosted by KyivPride, SUB, LeZ and Munich Kyiv Queer on 3rd and 4th of November. Lenny Emson, Executive Director of KyivPride, will be our guest in Munich, Kyiv’s twin city. Both the exhibition and the film have been provided by KyivPride.

This mini event series will be opened on Thursday, November 3rd, on the occasion of the vernissage in SUB, Müllerstraße 14, from 7.30 p.m. by Consul Dmytro Shevchenko from the Ukrainian Consulate General in Munich (via video) and City Councillor Dominik Krause, who has accompanied Munich Kyiv Queer to KyivPride for many years on behalf of Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter.

The exhibition

The twelve photo collages of “I am FROM Ukraine. I am IN Ukraine” will hang in SUB, Müllerstraße 14, from Thursday, 3 November, 7.30 p.m. for one month. After the greetings by Consul Shevchenko and City Councillor Krause, Conrad Breyer, spokesperson for Munich Kyiv Queer, will conduct an interview on the exhibition with Kyiv Pride leader Lenny Emson.

What’s been the idea behind this exhibition, what was the intention? The focus will be on the people portrayed in “I am FROM Ukraine. I am IN Ukraine”. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, non-binary, trans* and queer people from Ukraine tell their stories. Here are the EXAMPLES of trans* woman NIKA from Kharkiv, drag queen AuRA and lesbian drone pilot NASTYA from Kyiv.

When: Thursday, 3 November 2022, 7.30 p.m.
Where: SUB, Müllerstraße 14, Munich
Organised by: KyivPride, SUB, Munich Kyiv Queer

The Film

The day after, on Friday, 4 November, 7 pm, the organisers will show the twelve-minute documentary “KyivPride 2022: For Ukraine! For Victory!

The film reports on KyivPride, which, this year, took place with the Pride in Warsaw in a united protest because of the war. A sign of solidarity! 120,000 people marched for Ukraine; Ukrainian LGBTIQ* led the march.

Lenny Emson speaks on a stage in Warsaw. Screenshot: KyivPride

In an interview with Alex Belopolsky, freelance journalist, gender and Eastern Europe expert as well as member of Munich Kyiv Queer, Lenny Emson talks about Pride in the middle of war, the fears and concerns of the LGBTIQ* community in Ukraine, but also the hopes for equal rights and acceptance they associate with a possible victory over the aggressor. The war, they say, has already changed the country.

When: Friday, 4 November 2022, 7 p.m.
Where: LeZ, Müllerstraße 26, Munich
Organised by: KyivPride, LeZ, Munich Kyiv Queer

Here is how you can support Ukrainian LGBTIQ*:

Individual help

Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine with whom we have worked closely over the past ten years like Lenny, a co-founder of Munich Kyiv Queer. They are our friends and partners. We know them personally and we miss them. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.


If you want to support KyivPride directly, you can do so here. With your donation you support the activities of KyivPride, which bring diversity into the Ukrainian society. Most importantly, you are currently providing funds to the shelter that KyivPride runs to care for LGBTIQ* in need from all parts of the country.


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