LGBTIQ* and the war

24.07.2023 | cb — No comments

Can you imagine what it’s like for the LGBTIQ* community in Ukraine, living in the midst of war? The LGBT Human Rights NASH SVIT Center reveals in their recent report a community tirelessly assisting the armed forces in their stand against Russian aggression, all while battling the harsh realities of war.

In times of turmoil, Ukrainian LGBTIQ* organizations have stepped up, offering a beacon of hope. They’ve poured their energy into supporting the community, providing emergency aid and financial assistance to victims of conflict, and creating safe havens for refugees fleeing occupied territories. Many of these organizations, particularly in the east and south of Ukraine, have had to evacuate their teams to safer regions, becoming displaced individuals themselves in the process.

Nastya. Photo: Evgen Lesnoy

This year, the advocacy for registered civil partnership has taken center stage in the quest for LGBTIQ* rights, driven passionately by the NGO “Ukrainian LGBT+ military for equal rights” and other LGBTQ military allies. This crusade has met resistance, with homophobic religious activists and military personnel attempting to undermine the contributions of LGBTQ soldiers, or even deny their existence entirely. The societal climate in Ukraine has led many LGBTIQ* individuals to conceal their identities, especially within the military service, a heartbreaking reality that needs to change.

Glimpses of hope and resilience

While the Ukrainian military’s attitude towards the LGBTIQ* people could be described as tolerable, the absence of an official policy from the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs often leaves matters up to the specific situation. There have been unfortunate instances of intolerance and violence, especially from right-wing radical organizations’ military units. Thankfully, their impact is limited due to their volunteer makeup and a lack of openly LGBTIQ* members.

However, there are glimpses of hope and resilience. LGBTIQ* activists in the Armed Forces report largely neutral attitudes from their colleagues and superiors, with no discrimination when it comes to promotions or commendations. And let’s not forget the inspiring story of Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, the only openly transgender woman in the Armed Forces and an American volunteer, now the host of the Territorial Defense Forces’ official English-language news!

One critical issue lies with transgender individuals, who are grappling with the availability and cost of necessary hormonal drugs amidst a backdrop of falling incomes. Despite these hurdles, LGBTIQ* and charitable organizations continue their tireless efforts to address this issue.

In the face of adversity, the Ukrainian LGBTIQ* community remains strong and united, a testament to their resilience and the power of human spirit.

This is how you can donate

INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine who need help and are not organised in the local LGBTIQ*-groups. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.

HELP FOR LGBTIQ* ORGANISATIONS To support LGBTIQ* in Ukraine we have helped set up the Alliance Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine, in which around 40 German LGBTIQ* Human Rights organisations are involved. All these groups have access to very different Human Rights organisations in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here


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