“Every day brings greater self-awareness”

25.04.2024 | Nick Tomilin — No comments

Anastasia, a 25-year-old feminist and pansexual individual, recounts her experiences during the full-scale invasion in Lviv. Alongside her friends, she engaged in various humanitarian efforts, aiding those affected by the conflict. They navigated the challenges of fleeing to Poland and Germany, facing overcrowded trains and uncertainty. In Germany, Anastasia found a more inclusive environment compared to Ukraine, where misogyny and societal norms stifled diversity. Despite the upheaval, she observed a shift in societal attitudes towards the queer community in Ukraine. Returning home, Anastasia reflects on her journey, finding solace in her evolving identity and belief in a more inclusive future. Iryna Hanenkova collected her story.

My name is Anastasia, and I’m 25 years old, proudly identifying as a feminist and pansexual. The onset of the full-scale invasion found us in Lviv. I gathered with my three closest friends in a rented apartment, where we fashioned a makeshift bed in the corridor and barely slept for the initial 3-4 days.

Anastasiia at the Pride

Our days were filled with purpose as we rallied to aid those affected: collecting donations, assisting military personnel with shopping, and distributing soft toys to children and their mothers seeking refuge in nearby sports clubs. We also undertook the task of clearing out the basement shelter, discovering a stash of old pharmacist bottles at our entrance, which we promptly arranged to be taken to the Pharmacy Museum.

We did our best to help those we could

Not having a permanent job at the time, I dedicated myself fully to these humanitarian efforts. On March 5, my friend and I stood at the border crossing to Poland from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., enduring the cold without adequate heating, tents, toilets, or food.

Upon arrival at a large distribution camp in the evening, we finally found respite, warming ourselves and replenishing our energy. Although a Polish volunteer kindly offered us accommodation in Lublin for the night, we hesitated due to warnings about potential scams and politely declined.

On the way to Germany

Our journey was fraught with challenges, from overcrowded trains in Poland and Germany to the chaos of ticket queues where scalpers prowled. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, we pressed on. In Berlin, our spirits were lifted by the sight of German reporters welcoming us with Ukrainian flags.

Anastasiia, 25 years old. Ukrainian pansexual and feminist.

After spending a few days in the German capital, we ventured to Cologne, where, thanks to connections, we secured temporary accommodation for a week before settling into a communal-style living arrangement until in August 2022 I rented a room. My friend returned to Ukraine after a month and a half, leaving me to navigate life in a new environment alone.

Attending Pride for the first time on July 3rd was a transformative experience. The atmosphere of mutual respect, love and solidarity was awe-inspiring. In the summer of 2023, I returned to Pride as a representative of KyivPride, forging connections with amazing people and establishing a supportive community with three Ukrainian bi-girls through our joint chat.

In Germany, I found a level of openness and acceptance of diverse genders and identities that I miss in Ukraine. The pervasive misogyny and self-rejection among Ukrainian women, coupled with adherence to patriarchal norms, contrast sharply with the inclusive environment I encountered abroad.

I found my flock

Upon my return to Ukraine in the summer of 2023, I found my LGBTIQ* community relegated to online social media groups and a small circle of bisexual friends. During the full-scale invasion, I observed a shift in societal attitudes towards the queer community in Ukraine. LGBTIQ* topics are gaining visibility, and cases of violence against LGBTQ* individuals are receiving media attention, signaling a slow but significant change.

My time abroad was marred by deep depression and numerous economic and bureaucratic obstacles, culminating in the completion of my journalism diploma through distance learning. Now back in Ukraine, I’m focusing on self-discovery and contemplating seeking professional support once again.

Anastasiia at the LGBTQI+ Pride

The NGO “Feminist Workshop” in Lviv provided a vital space for me to connect with like-minded individuals until February 24th. I eagerly anticipate rejoining their events ever since.

My European experience led to a personal revelation, evolving my identity from bisexuality to pansexuality. Each day brings greater self-awareness and acceptance as societal norms evolve, reinforcing my belief in a vibrant and inclusive Ukraine where everyone finds their rightful place.

This is how you can donate

INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support queer people in Ukraine who are in need or on the run. Why? Because not all LGBTIQ* are organised in the local LGBTIQ*-groups. This help is direct, fast and free of charge if you choose the option “For friends and family” on PayPal. If you don’t have PayPal, you can alternatively send money to the private account of Conrad Breyer, speaker of Munich Kyiv Queer, IBAN: DE427015000021121454.

All requests from the community are meticulously checked in cooperation with our partner organisations in Ukraine. If they can help themselves, they take over. If the demands for help exceed their (financial and/or material) possibilities, we will step in.

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


Comments are closed.