News

Be a Super Hero: Join us for the Pride March!

Once again, to show solidarity with our queer friends in Ukraine fighting Russian aggression, Munich Kyiv Queer & Friends are invited to walk in the front forming the huge Ukrainian column. We are so grateful to the organisers!

Join us, be part of Munich’s Pride March. Do not just watch from the sidewalk, stand with us for Ukraine. An be in front!

In correspondance with MunichPride’s motto 2024 (“United in diversity. Together against the Right”) we have chosen the slogan: “Power for Peace”. The message is clear and simple: We have to fight for Peace with the Power of (queer) solidarity, creativity and wit. Bring your posters or just walk with us. Be part of Ukraine’s (queer) future.

Super Hero Cat. Graphics: Naomi Lawrence

The banners we carry with us will be created by Munich based artist Naomi Lawrence. They are stunning and powerful!

PrideMarch CSD München
When Saturday, 22 June 2024, noon
Where Mariahilfplatz
Organized by Munich Kyiv Queer

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

“Every day brings greater self-awareness”

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 https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

Queer Quiz. Score with your queer knowledge

Which sportswoman dared to come out during her career? When did the first Pride take place in Berlin? How many times has Ukraine won the ESC?

Three of 50 questions that we will be asking you on 21 June in the Lesbian-queer centre LeZ, via pictures, text, audio and video. At the Queer Quiz, you’ll find out everything about queer culture, queer history and a whole lot about LGBTIQ* celebrities. We have invited guests from Ukraine!

Form a team with your friends or find your peers on site! Attractive prizes await the teams in the top three places! Register using the QR code above.

A popular game

We would like to thank Vova and Vanja for their commitment and Sibylle for supporting them. They developed the Queer Quiz and refined the concept over the years. They now tour Munich’s community with it.

Queer Quiz Score points with your queer knowledge
When Friday, 21 June 2024, 7 pm
Where Lesbian-queer centre LeZ, Müllerstraße 16
Organized by Munich Kyiv Queer, LeZ

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

Munich Kyiv Extravaganza

The queer cabaret show from Ukraine! Immerse yourself in a world of glitz and glamour! Samantha Jackson, Bavaria’s first Ukrainian drag queen, the magician Markus Laymann and our special guest Pasta Parisa invite you to an evening with breathtaking performances by drag artists, singers and musicians! A unique fusion of drag and queer Ukrainian culture. Tuesday, 18 June, 8 pm, at Wannda Circus Freimann. Buy your tickets now!

Before things get started, we’d like to introduce here our cast in fast-forward. First of all, we proudly present our hosts and special guest Pasta Parisa:

Ukrainian’s Drag Ambassador SAMANTHA JACKSON from Odesa has a big stage presence, a big heart and an even bigger voice. Everything about her is big. Especially the longing for her old homeland, which she had to leave because of the war. With her songs, she reminds us of Ukraine. Her cause: A life in freedom! Samantha says: “All people in this world deserve to be free to choose who they love and be who they are.”

Reality seller MARKUS LAYMANN is a missionary of intelligent entertainment. That is why the style of his magic programmes is more cabaret than serious magic. The focus is always on entertainment, on entertaining the audience. In times when there are no more miracles for the enlightened spectator, it is more important to address the audience directly, to make them laugh or think or to surprise them.

Pasta Parisa. Photo: Merlyn Charles Nieto

PASTA PARISA is probably the rockiest, most feminist and hairiest drag queen in Bavaria, if not Germany. From her own small shows for Munich’s LGBTIQ* community to international stages, Pasta enchants with dance numbers following songs from pop history, modern burlesque and funny lipsync performances. Munich’s first “Queen of the Night” of the Garry Klein Club sets every party and every event on fire! Because who doesn’t like pasta?

And these are our perfomers

MERRITT OCRACY is Munich’s Ukrainian Drag Quing. A faerie harlequin, a vintage prince of the mischievous abyss, a crossover chameleon that flies through space and time and has landed on stage from somewhere out there. Merritt says: “Gender is a construct, build your own.”

BEE QUING came to Germany because of Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine, too. They love to entertain the audience with their energy and improvised dance moves. Combining their passion for dance with drag is an experience that amazes us all.

XENI SLAY Your favourite Ukrainian demon who will leave you like paralysed. Xeni Slay comes all the way from Düsseldorf where she hosts her show “Cirque du so SLAY”. Get ready for breathtaking acrobatics with a good dose of Slay and clowning! Xeni’s performances are a unique mix of her Ukrainian heritage and circus background, and she is ready to slay!

Olena Vyshnevska. Photo: Samir Sagaev

OLENA VYSHNEVSKA has been living in Vienna for a year and a half now. The war brought her to Austria. The mezzo-soprano, who worked in her home town Odesa as a soloist with the regional philharmonic orchestra, the opera house and as a teacher of solo singing at the State Academy of Music, continues to perform as a singer, travelling all over Europe to do so. She has won numerous international awards for her art.

SQUAREPLATZ is a queer band from Munich with Ukrainian-Turkish roots. Their unique sound combines electronic music and indie dance pop, inspired by the sound of the 90s. The lyrics by frontman Sezgin Inceel and Stanislav Mischchenko behind the keyboards deal with topics such as queer identity and social justice. With their music, the two artists stand up for diversity and inclusion.

Squareplatz. Photo: Stanislav Mishchenko

Munich Kyiv Extravaganza celebrates queer (drag) art from Ukraine. We offer a platform for young Ukrainian artists and also take the opportunity to collect donations for queer war victims in Ukraine. The donations will benefit LGBTIQ* people who are in need or on the run. Our team will be waiting for you at the information desk near the entrance hall to answer all your questions.

Munich Kyiv Extravaganza Queer Cabaret Show from Ukraine
When: Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 8 pm; admission/catering from 6.30 pm
Where: Wannda Circus Freimann, Im Park, entrance left of Völckerstraße 5; Metro: Freimann stop (U6); by car: Lindberghstraße 44, no parking spaces directly on the premises!
Tickets: 29 euros plus advance booking fees; BUY TICKETS HERE
Organised by: Munich Kyiv Queer, Munich Pride, Wannda, Cultural Department of the City of Munich

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

Those tempered at daybreak: LGBTQ* eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine

30 stories, 30 fates. Portraits and stories of 30 LGBTQ* people from the south of Ukraine during the war. Exhibition at the Lesbian-Queer Centre LeZ from 24 May to 16 June; opening on 24 May.

Russia’s attack triggered a war that has not been seen in Europe since 1945. The ideas of human rights and collective security: What the modern understanding of justice and equality is based on, have been challenged.

Ukrainians united to defend their homeland, and amidst the fighting, losses, and deaths, everything else faded into the background. Any nation forced to defend its existence will face the consequences of war. It brings not only crippled lives and destroyed cities. It also brings radicalization of society and increased pressure on vulnerable groups of people. Social exclusion based on sexual orientation or gender identity is still present in Ukraine.

Living in the face of disaster

The advocacy campaign, which included collecting stories, holding an exhibition, publishing a book, and recording an audiobook, “Those Tempered at Daybreak: LGBTQ* eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine,” is our response to the challenges of war.

The campaign was an opportunity for LGBTQ* people to share their unique experiences, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, common to many Ukrainian women and men from southern Ukraine. To speak out loud about their experiences, fears, and hopes, about their identity as a group member, even in situations where some of them were left alone in the face of disaster.

The artist Stasya Samar has portrayed these people. Her drawings are accompanied by text and audio reports from them. Stasya’s art makes communication possible where LGBTIQ*, as a vulnerable group, often prefer to remain silent.

There is a “before” and an “after”

“Those tempered at daybreak: LGBTQ* eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine” is the title chosen to draw attention to the event that divided the lives of millions of Ukrainians around the world into “before” and “after” – the dawn of February 24, 2022. The dawn after which everything has changed and became hardened. The dawn after which the world lost so much forever.

All the stories are available to read and listen to on this website (English, Ukrainian)

___

Those tempered at daybreak: LGBTQ* eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine
When 24th of May till 16th of June in the Lesbian-Queer Centre LeZ, Müllerstraße 26
Opening 24th of May, 7 p.m., with the artist Stasya Samar and the curator Evhenija Kvasnevska from Gay Alliance Ukraine, Kyiv/Odesa
Organisedy by Munich Kyiv Queer, Gay Alliance Ukraine, MunichPride, Cultural Department of the City of Munich

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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 like Gay Alliance Ukraine in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people like those portrayed here. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

A Letter From the Front Lines

Petro Zherukha, a 27-year-old cisgender bisexual soldier, shares his journey amidst the chaos of war. Despite the dangers, Petro bravely confronts his identity, proudly displaying an LGBTIQ* chevron on his uniform to challenge discrimination and seek acceptance within the ranks. His story exemplifies resilience in the face of adversity. Our columnist Iryna Hanenkova has put down his story.

From the first days of the invasion, I joined the military. At these critical moments, everything seemed to lose its meaning, except for victory, which was directly associated with the future. For a moment, there was a feeling that there would be no future because we and our memories were being slaughtered. But it turned out that love for everything and faith were and will be stronger than any fear of death.

In the army, I serve in the supply unit and deal with everything related to transport. My military unit entered the front line quickly, so every second of doubt or lack of knowledge could become the end of us. Our logistics team worked almost around the clock. We debated whether to take cover during alarms or the sounds of explosions. We decided that we would work until the very last. If a missile hits the building where we work and we die, then so be it. And if not – it will explode somewhere nearby, then there is nothing to worry about, and therefore, all the more to continue our work. We could not afford any delays at work because it directly affected the provision for our fighters in positions.

My coming out was not related to the army, although I felt a direct threat to my life because the army was not the safest environment for me or anyone in general. My friend, who was directly involved in the creation of the draft law on registered partnerships, inspired me. The military system, on the contrary, systematically oppressed me.

Serving in the army is a quite challenging task. If you serve faithfully, that is. We wanted to strive to be good soldiers and dedicated all our energy, comfort, principles, personal space, funds, skills, knowledge, and even some fundamental human rights just to bring victory closer to us. We knew this system would never thank us so we accepted the fact that we would be anonymous benefactors, giving it everything we had to win this war.

I fought and still fight against the military system for my personality and my identity. I saw people lose parts of themselves, and their personalities, both in the army and at the front. I noticed that I also felt different and lost something of who I was before the army.

When I shared with my friends the idea that I might want to come out only to our group – they rejected me. I’m sure that’s because of the fear of the unknown. After the victory – they said, “not in time” – a golden saying that, sort to speak, so clearly describes the diagnosis of our society: to decide to postpone the desire to be happy right now. And I obeyed.

But when I found out about everything that my friend did for me and people like me in the army, I decided not to suppress my personality anymore, to stop being afraid of reactions, and openly talk about discrimination if it happens. And I opened up, perhaps, among the most conservative people and in the most dangerous conditions imaginable. As you understand, this happened in a war zone between brothers and sisters who have been fighting for more than a year; who are tired, exhausted, wounded, lost, and with weapons in their hands. My superiors were afraid that I might get shot. I didn’t believe it.

When I attached a chevron with an LGBTIQ* flag to my uniform, I was regularly “advised” to take it off, and I believe that someone was simply afraid of aggression towards me. Someone was uncomfortable, someone discriminated against me passively, and someone thought that I was discriminating against them.

However, I accepted it – I am uncomfortable for many, incomprehensible, new for perception, so it takes more effort to accept me. That’s why I serve with an LGBTIQ* chevron so that my military accepts me for who I am and forms boundaries and relationships with the real me. I want to brag about the fact that I am successful in this and feel that in this way I choose to strive to be happy right now.

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

“The war has made me indifferent to death”

Diana, a 24-year-old lesbian working at a pharmacy, recounts the onset of a full-scale invasion in her city. What begins as a routine day quickly spirals into chaos as panicked crowds flood the store, stocking up on supplies amidst the uncertainty of war. Amidst the frenzy, Diana’s initial disbelief gives way to grim acceptance as she grapples with the reality of the situation.

As the conflict escalates, Diana finds herself navigating the tumultuous landscape with a strange calmness, while still grappling with the profound sadness and existential numbness brought on by the violence. Her story reflects the resilience and inner turmoil experienced by many caught in the throes of war. Our columnist Iryna Hanenkova has put down her story.

The first day of the full-scale invasion began like any other: I woke up, prepared for work at the pharmacy, calmly drove in, and awaited customers. Typically, the mornings were slow, with few visitors until around ten o’clock. I wasn’t part of any messenger newsgroups and avoided reading the news on principle.

So, as I began my workday, the sudden influx of people at eight in the morning struck me as odd. ‘Perhaps just some early customers,’ I thought. Yet, as the day progressed, the line grew longer, and panic buying of bandages and iodine ensued, leaving me bewildered.

Diana

By midday, the line extended onto the road, and a significant portion of our stock had been depleted. My phone buzzed incessantly with calls and texts from concerned relatives and friends, but I was too occupied to respond, rushing to fulfill orders amidst the chaos.

Chaos around me

Around five in the evening, a calm man stood before me, a stark contrast to the frantic crowd and myself. ‘Take a moment, catch your breath,’ he advised. ‘You’re overexerting yourself. You’ll faint if you don’t slow down.’ Grateful for the respite, I inquired about the sudden surge in customers. ‘The war has begun,’ he calmly informed me. I couldn’t comprehend his words. How could it be? Everything seemed normal. By day’s end, the pharmacy was nearly empty, affording me a brief moment to hydrate and eat as the reality of the situation slowly sank in.

You are coming with us

A call from my best friend shattered any illusions of normalcy:

– ‘Where are you? Why didn’t you pick up?’
– ‘I’m at work. Can you believe how busy it is? And someone said, “The war has begun!”‘ I chuckled nervously.
– ‘The russians attacked! We’re leaving. Come with us! I won’t leave you behind!’

It dawned on me that this was no jest. ‘Where are you going? I can’t abandon my responsibilities here, or my parents,’ I protested.

– ‘You’re coming with us! I can’t bear the thought of leaving you behind. We don’t know what’s coming. Kyiv is under attack, tanks are advancing!’
– ‘I won’t leave, but please take care of yourself.’

Diana

Subsequently, I caught up on the news and slowly accepted the grim reality. The days that followed were routine – home, work, home – until the distant explosions in Lviv brought the war closer to home. Yet, amidst the turmoil, a strange calm settled within me. It’s as if my mind reverted to a childlike curiosity, finding fascination in the chaos, overshadowing the adult fears of tomorrow’s uncertainties and deaths.

I mourn for those sacrificing their lives for our freedom, yet the war has numbed me to death’s inevitability. Perhaps it’s exacerbated by the lingering depression from a painful breakup. Left alone, I’ve grown indifferent to my own possible demise. The constant drone of explosions outside my window has normalized death to me.

Nothing will be ever the same

There’s a profound sadness for our nation and its people, yet despair has given way to a numbing acceptance. The war has transformed us all, though not everyone wears their suffering outwardly. At times, waves of despair and anxiety grip me, a visceral pain that transcends mere words. It’s a pain for our land, our people, and the decay of the world around us.

Deep down, there’s a flicker of hope that we’ll emerge victorious, that the bloodshed will cease. But the trauma-induced calm whispers that nothing will ever be the same, regardless of the war’s outcome.

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

Two years of war! That’s what we have achieved so far

Since the start of the war, Munich Kyiv Queer has collected over 200,000 euros in donations for queer war victims in Ukraine and helped refugees to start a new life in Germany.

Solidarity with Ukraine is unbroken – at least in Munich. Since 24 February 2022, we, who have been campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, inter* and queer people in Munich’s twin city Kyiv and beyond since 2012, have been asking for donations again and again. To date, exactly 228,938.78 euros have been collected.

What looks like a lot of money at first glance quickly turned out to be a scarce resource. So far, our initiative has given an average of 200 euros per person in one-off emergency aid to individuals. This corresponds to just under half an average monthly income in Ukraine. A private fundraising campaign allows for quick, free and unbureaucratic action. And because the need is great, there are currently only 27,682.63 euros left (status of 21 February 2024).

Munich Kyiv Queer joining Munich’s protest against the right in January 2024. Photo: Conrad Breyer

The money is given to queer people in need who have lost their jobs, been bombed out, are ill or have had to flee. As a vulnerable group, LGBTIQ* people are often particularly alone in such situations, as they cannot always rely on stable family structures and their circles of friends, often their families of choice, have often been torn apart in the course of the flight movements.

Thanks to the donors and the team

Conrad Breyer, spokesperson for Munich Kyiv Queer, is delighted with the unbroken solidarity. “We are so incredibly grateful for the help!” It comes from Munich’s community, its many committed people and organisations; it comes from Munich’s civil society and often from artists, especially from the drag scene, who offer Munich Kyiv Queer a platform for fundraising and aid campaigns. However, help also reaches them from all over Germany and even from abroad.

For a small, voluntary group like Munich Kyiv Queer with just a dozen members, it is an outstanding achievement to have raised so much money, says Conrad. “Many of us have been working non-stop for years, especially since the start of the war, to organise support for our partner organisations and friends in Ukraine.”

How Munich Kyiv Queer helps

And the commitment is by no means limited to donations. Munich Kyiv Queer also looks after people who have come to Munich: We help them with dealing with the authorities and bureaucracy, support them find accommodation and mingle into the German society and Munich’s community through a mentorship programme.

Munich’s LGBTIQ* community shows solidarity at a queer networking meeting in 2023. Photo: MKQ

With the donations, Munich Kyiv Queer has so far been able to help around 1000 individuals who need the funds for food, hygiene articles, clothing, (HIV) medication, operations, hormones, rent, escape, documents and even funerals. There is a lack of everything!

In the past six months, the donations have gone to people (names changed) like:

  • Vitalyna and Masha, two lesbian women with children, who were recently evacuated from the occupied Mariupol. They needed money for rent, papers and food
  • Lina, a trans* woman from Kharkiv. She does not currently earn enough to cover her rent and other needs in full
  • Dmytro, a gay man from Pavlohrad. He was beaten up and needed money for an operation.

“This help is really invaluable for our community. Just to feel that we are not left alone in this war and that we can rely on friends in Munich and elsewhere means everything to us,” says Stanislav Mishchenko, board member of KyivPride. Stas is also a member of Munich Kyiv Queer.

Every request for help is checked for credibility in collaboration with Munich Kyiv Queer’s queer partner organisations in Ukraine. If the LGBTIQ* organisations in Ukraine are able to provide support themselves, for example by issuing vouchers for food, medicine and hygiene products, they will do so. In all other cases, Munich Kyiv Queer steps in.

Part of the Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine

It should also be mentioned that Munich Kyiv Queer, together with around 40 other German LGBTIQ* organisations, is part of the Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine alliance, which it co-founded in February 2022. “Queere Nothilfe Ukraine” provides dedicated support to Ukrainian LGBTIQ* organisations. It has raised over one million euros since 24 February.

Ukrainian LGBTIQ* organisations use the money for their own aid programmes and for shelters. However, not all queer people are connected to these bodies or know them, which is why Munich Kyiv Queer supplements the offer with its individual case help.

Ukrainian delegation marching at Munich Pride in 2023. Photo: MKQ

The war is now entering its third year, with no end in sight. If you would like to continue to help, you can do so HERE. At MunichKyivQuer.org/donations we also list how your support helps and we blog about the current situation for LGBTIQ* in Ukraine. You can also find information about our projects going on.

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

“We need to increase the military aid to Ukraine!”

Sasha is a queer activist and artist from Kyiv turning 20 this year. When she and her parents found themselves away from home after Russia’s full-scale invasion, Sasha was still a teenager. Soon she realized that Ukraine and its queer movement need help to survive. This is her story, protocol by our columnist Iryna Hanenkova.

I currently live in Vancouver and study Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC), with an interest in acting, psychology, and international relations. Since I left Ukraine, I have represented my country at protests in Warsaw, New York, and Vancouver.

Before moving to Canada in July 2022 to begin my education, I lived with my family in New York for six months. As a teenager at the time, I was unsure about what to do with my life, as I was neither prepared for the war, nor was in a good spot in my personal life even prior to the full-scale invasion.

How to support Ukraine from abroad?

For everyone who lived in the Kyiv region at the time, February 24th of 2022 was the scariest day of their lives, as the russian army was constantly shelling and quickly advancing on the region. In order to reunite with my immediate family who were abroad at the time, I left my home without a definite plan and ended up going to New York through Warsaw.

I spent half a year advocating for Ukraine in New York, as well as trying to figure out what to do with my life and how best to utilize my skills as a Ukrainian living abroad. I volunteered with “Razom For Ukraine”, joined every Ukrainian protest, and took part in the New York Pride Parade in June 2022 to represent the Ukrainian LGBTIQ* community.

Attending pride events has always been important to me since I first started advocating for women’s rights and then further exploring my sexuality. The first pride parade I ever attended was the “Equality March” organized by KyivPride in September 2021, 5 months before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Activism has been the primary drive of my life since I became conscious of the issues of human and animal rights in Ukraine at the time. The war accelerated all social changes in my country and resulted in the recent ratification of the Istanbul Convention, introduction of gender-neutral partnerships bill to the Parliament of Ukraine, legalization of medical cannabis, etc.

I joined the Pride movement to break Western stereotypes…

As part of my goal to gain more support for the Ukrainian cause, I also attended Seattle Pride in June 2023, and helped organize Ukrainian entry at the Vancouver Pride in August 2023. I believe that Pride parades abroad are a great opportunity to remind the world that Ukrainian queers still need support to defeat Russian imperialism, as well as to break the Western stereotype that there is no queer movement in Ukraine.  

Since I moved to Vancouver to study at UBC in June 2022, my life gained more certainty and I was able to concentrate more of my efforts on advocating for Ukraine. When I became a student at UBC, I joined the Ukrainian Student Union a.k.a. USU. Together with the team, we organize events and fundraisers on and off campus to promote Ukrainian culture and history.

As part of USU, I am organizing the “LGBTIQ* Ukrainians” entry at this year’s Vancouver Pride too. Our goal as a student club is to increase the support of Ukraine in the university and the city, as much of the local population is unfortunately subject to pro-russian and communist propaganda.

.. and to increase military aid to Ukraine

In 2024, I intend to work on more Ukrainian advocacy projects, maintain the existing support for Ukraine, and attract as many new supporters of the cause as possible. My hope is that such work will influence the decision-makers to increase military aid to Ukraine which is the only way to accelerate Ukrainian victory.

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations

“I do not want to leave Ukraine”

This is the story of Manila Boss, a drag queen from Ukraine. The 28-year-old tells how she experienced the outbreak of war. Manila shares her moving journey, the moments of fear, the will to survive and the solidarity that helped her not to lose hope in the midst of the chaos. Our columnist Iryna Hanenkova met Manila and wrote down her story.

How did I get to know the war? Under the duvet. I had my premonitions about a week before the outbreak, but in the 21st century a major war seemed a long way off. I sat at home and thought that such things no longer happen today. But fate had other plans for us.

My boyfriend is a soldier and on the evening of 23 February he told me to be careful at night or something might happen to me. When my mother called at six in the morning on 24 February, I quickly realised what he had meant: “Son, the war has started. Get up, pack some documents and be ready.” My mum didn’t know what to tell me because we live in different cities.

I put the phone down and while I was still sitting on the bed, I heard the first violent explosions. The chaos began. I didn’t know what to do, where to go or where to hide. Fear overwhelmed me and I felt helpless.

Escape from the missiles

At that moment, I received a call from a friend. He told me to come to his flat, that we had to stay together. Without hesitation, I grabbed my documents and some clothes, hailed a taxi and set off. The explosions in the distance accompanied me; I didn’t know if I would arrive safely.

Surprisingly, the taxi came quickly, I drove to my friends’ house under the explosions and didn’t know if I would get there…

I lived in his shared flat for the first three weeks. Every time there was an air raid, we ran and took cover, often in the grounds of a nightclub where I used to perform. The club was underground and seemed relatively safe.

Then, when the situation in the country became clearer, I returned home alone. I found myself in a new life. The club where I had performed had closed its doors – of course.

Hope in the midst of chaos

Thank God I had and still have another job that has kept me afloat. I work for the youth organisation Partner. Our target group are LGBTIQ*.

Before the war, we carried out tests for STIs and distributed contraceptives. After the war began, we started helping internally displaced people who had fled from the nearby cities of Kherson and Mykolayiv.

We provided them with food and humanitarian aid, and we started to offer free hormone replacement therapy for trans* people. We are still doing that today…

Ukraine will triumph

I didn’t perform on stage in front of an audience for a year and a half. I didn’t know if I would ever perform again. I didn’t know if anyone needed that now. But – wonder of wonders! – recently the director of the club where I used to perform on stage called me and said: Manila, we’re working again!

From the first days of the war, I was on the territory of my country!!! And I didn’t and don’t want to leave there! I am at home!!! In Ukraine!

As I write these lines, the war continues unabated. But I firmly believe that Ukraine will win. I am proud of our Ukrainian armed forces and of our people. Everything will be fine, because in the end Ukraine will triumph.

This is how you can donate


INDIVIDUAL HELP Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via https://www.paypal.me/ConradBreyer 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

Questions? www.MunichKyivQueer.org/donations