„These people have written history!“
In her laudatory speech, Oleksandra Bienert from the Alliance of Ukrainian Organisations paid tribute to the work of our organisation over the past few years. We are priveliged to be able to publish the whole of her speech here.
To see each other, to really accept each other. To remove borders. To understand each other. To cope with what is really happening. To make visible the work of people whose work would normally remain invisible.
To be able to look people in the eyes, build partnerships with people. To be able to build a sustainable relationship that has already lasted decades. All this belongs to the contact group of the Munich Kyiv Queer organisation.
If one reads the website description of Munich Kyiv Queer it is clear that the group is an interface between the queer communities of Munich, Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. They initiate, conceptualise, organise and begin projects, either alone or in coordination with other groups and organisations. They stand side by side with them providing help and advice. Though modest in actions, these people have made history. And they continue to make history.
The basis: A city partnership between Munich and Kyiv
The group came to be with the Munich Kyiv city partnership. The idea was to invite a delegation from Kyiv to Munich Pride in 2012. After this there were several exchanges between the city’s LGBTIQ* communites and thus began the long lived cooperation and the foundation of the Munich Kyiv Queer contact group. The first to be involved were, inter alia, Conrad, Sibylle, Uwe (in Munich) and Stas (in Kyiv).
The contact group grew, remains active and is always open. And when they want to build a bridge (whatever it may be) there is nothing that they won’t do in order to make it happen. Translation of books, exhibitions, making LGBTIQ* visible, especially trans* persons, collabs, workshops for volunteers from Ukraine learning about the queer community in Munich and so much more.
Always remaining open with all, Munich Kyiv Queer aims to be a bridge between the communities and self-help groups and remain transparent therein.
Now that the bridge has matured it has become far more than just a bridge. The bridge is part of the activities organised and one of the most important and successful international communal projects in Germany. It works in both German and Ukrainian communities. The projects reach and extend to the whole of Ukraine.
Extension of projects to the whole of Ukraine
Although it may sound easy, it requires mountains of work. And it has already had an effect on a whole generation, not only Ukrainians but Germans too. The partners of Munich Kyiv Queer now include groups throughout Ukraine: whether it be in Vinnitsa, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Kharkiv, Kyiv or Lviv. Not to mention assorted organisations carrying out prevention of HIV infection.
A very important alliance was formed with Gay Alliance Ukraine especially in the regions. For example, when financial support of HIV prevention was halted in 2016, Munich Kyiv Queer financed the Queer Homes project. So what does it mean, a queer home in Ukraine? It is a safe space. It provides confidence and freedom of choice. It means being able to know someone without having to hide or lie about ones self.
Another beautiful example was the invitation of queer choirs from Ukraine to participate in a queer choirs festival in Munich (Various Voices 2018). With the experience learned form this event a similar one was arranged in Odesa: the Q festival. Now Ukrainians invited queer choirs from Munich to Odesa. I could go on at length with all the other projects that have been arranged…
The launch of Pride and the beginning of queer visibility
One of the most important milestones was the attendance of normally at least 20 people from the Munich community to Gay Pride in Kyiv, which began already in 2012. I am amazed at the courage of those who not only attended but affected the development of the Pride movement in Ukraine.
The first KyivPride carried danger to the health and lives of all those who joined it. The support and attendance by the international community ensured change of the event over the years. Political pressure was applied and Munich Kyiv Queer was one of the first groups that provided support. After a few years this intervention helped the Pride move to the high-streets. Both in the psychological as well as the actual sense.
KyivPride now happens!
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th of February 2022 Munich Kyiv Queer found itself fulfilling a new role as a help organisation – in particular for queer war victims in distress or fleeing.
Munich Kyiv Queer was co-founder of the “Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine” group (Queere Nothilfe Ukraine) along with over 40 other German organisations. They raised a million Euros for queer people in distress and work with 15 NGOs in Ukraine. Most important was the fast response that resulted from the contacts built over years with the Munich Kyiv Queer group.
Solidarity trip into the war zone
Members of Munich Kyiv Queer, inter alia Sibylle, travelled to Ukraine in order to show solidarity with their friends as well as providing help but most of all to be at their side. Sibylle experienced rocket attacks as well as thanks from Ukrainians that she will never forget. She documented her experiences in film and text, managing to raise 14 000 Euros in donations.
Munich Kyiv Queer also collected stories under the motto: ‘How does one live in a war?’ In order to make people aware of the situation of queer people. Here I’d like to recount the story of Lera, a trans* person from Oleshki in the Cherson region. Oleshki is still in Russian hands. Thanks to Munich Kyiv Queer we got to hear what life for a trans* person living in an occupied land is like.
Lera managed, with the help of the Cherson organisation “Insha”, to escape via Crimea, Russia and finally Estonia to Berlin where she currently lives.
Munich Kyiv Queer is currently organising shelters for and ways of getting queer refugees out of Ukraine and into safety. The aim was and remains to bring queer refugees into German communities. A mammoth task, one of many mammoth tasks.
On the 11th of July 2023, a photography exhibition entitled “I am in Ukraine, I am out of Ukraine” was held in Berlin. It covered stories and photos of queer people there.
The exhibition was made by KyivPride and thanks to Munich Kyiv Queer was shown in German, too. The locations in Berlin were organised in cooperation with PlusUkrDe – Positive Ukranians In Germany. Again queer war experiences were made visible.
A big thank you to Munich Kyiv Queer
I want to thank Munich Kyiv Queer from the bottom of my heart for its work, its big heartedness, its courage and its bright example to all of the limitless solidarity and humanity it provides.
A lot more work still lies ahead of us. The Russian attack on Ukraine will continue for a while. In the meantime, people and in particular queer people in Ukraine as well as those fleeing the situation there need more than ever our help and support. We are in need of homes for refugees, safe spaces and more work against discrimination.
For the first time this year, official support for laws governing civil partnerships in Ukraine has been provided by the Defense and Justice ministries along with various factions in the Ukrainian Parliament. We now await the outcome from the debates. This breakthrough is thanks to international organisations such as Munich Kyiv Queer. With their ability they are making history.
Hans Peter Hausschild, the name of todays prize, stood completely for eradicating social restrictions. Munich Kyiv Queer stands, with its limitless work, for exactly this spirit by conquering social borders and achieving solidarity.
With best wishes for the future
I would like to wish Munich Kyiv Queer much energy for its continued work and I am very happy to award the Hans Peter Hausschild prize to it today.
We’re back. On 4th of November we celebrate queer solidarity with our friends in Ukraine. The Charity Drag Show starts at 8 pm. Get your tickets now.
Munich’s emcee and “reality seller” Markus Laymann (photo: Verena Gremmer; below right) presents artists from Germany and Ukraine with Bavaria’s one and only Ukrainian drag queen Samantha Jackson (photo: Raphael Renter; below left).
They have all joined forces to support LGBTIQ* in and from Ukraine with an entertaining cabaret evening. We offer you an extravagant show with drag, music, burlesque, magic and comedy.
And these are our guests from Germany
She is the enfant terrible of the German burlesque scene. When RUBY TUESDAY reveals herself on stage, it’s getting hot. Ruby has been performing throughout Europe as a neo-burlesque performer for over eleven years. This art form not only allows the performers to play with femininity and sensuality in a self-determined, creative and humorous way, but also to question social norms and blur boundaries.
Her versatility allows Ruby (photo: Verena Gremmer; below) to slip into many roles: she plays the fluffy bunny just as convincingly as “Ruben Tuesday” bursting with masculinity – Ruby was Munich’s first drag king.
MERRITT OCRACY is Munich’s Ukrainian Drag Quing (Photo: Merlyn Charles Nieto; below left). 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.”
PERRY STROIKA does strange things (photo: Verena Gremmer; below right) and rhinestones his underwear. Munich’s well known drag king moves aesthetically somewhere between camp and campsite owner. In his performances he likes to show people the silly side of masculinity.
From Ukraine we get to see
BEE QUING (photo below left) came to Germany because of the war. They love to entertain the audience with their energy and improvised dance steps. Combining their passion for dance with drag is an experience that amazes us all.
The mysterious VIRIENA (photo below right), winner of Voice Zaporizhzhia, has also been living in Germany for a good year now. She has already given many concerts here and inspires the fans with her expressive voice.
Meet our hosts
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. 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 him directly, to make him laugh or think or to surprise him.
And last but not least
Our stage hand is a young vegetable and the only source of vitamins who volunteers to help pick up underwear: That’s our dear Radieschen!
Munich Kyiv Cabaret is a charity evening for queer war victims. The artists all waive their fees; the entrance fee will be donated to Ukrainian LGBTIQ* who are in need or on the run. At the entrance, Munich Kyiv Queer will be waiting at the info desk to answer all your questions.
Munich Kyiv Cabaret Charity Drag Show in aid of Munich Kyiv Queer
When Saturday, 4 November 2023, 8 p.m.; admission from 6.30 p.m.
Where Drehleier, Rosenheimer Straße 123
Tickets 29/25 euros plus advance booking fees, PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Organised by Munich Kyiv Queer, Drehleier
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 like “You are not alone” and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people like Volodymyr. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here