This article was published on March 3rd, 2022
On the streets of Ukraine – particularly in Kyiv, the word is that Ukrainians are not afraid of Putin and they believe in their army, adamant that Russian forces will not win and for many it is imperative that they do not. But for those that live within the LGBTQ+ community in Kyiv and beyond, there is an added level of fear as many queer people believe that if Putin is successful, their lives will be more impacted and further at risk than their countrymen.
Russia is one of the most homophobic countries in the world and there is little to no support for queer human rights and activists within their borders. Many that live there live in daily fear from the Putin regime, the anti-gay propaganda, and Ukrainians know that the threat of this attitude coming down within their borders is very real as the invasion continues to destroy the country.
In Ukraine, there is currently a poll with over 50% of the public positive towards queer people, but in Russia, that same poll shows only about 10% positive support, and these numbers are a scary prospect for Ukrainians should Putin take over the country.
Russia Moved To ‘Protect’ Children In 2013 With Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill
In 2013, Putin and the Russian government proposed a bill that was aimed to protect children from homosexuality and its themes, arguing that it veers away from traditional family values. The law was seen at the time as extremely ambiguous and was condemned by human rights organizations throughout the world as it banned any display or even mention of homosexuality, flagging it as a criminal offense. Also worth noting is Russia’s long history of persecuting the LGBTQ+ community by even banning same-sex marriage, and obliterating protections for people within the queer community.
Pride events have been opposed even though they were recognized as discrimination by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010. Despite this and other pressing matters, the Russian government under Putin continues to decimate the silence the queer contingent within the country and possibly Ukraine as well.
The Hypothetical: Russia Gains Control of Ukraine
These are real issues that Ukrainians are currently taking into consideration should Russia wrangle control of the country and occupy it indefinitely. Also at issue is the credible information by reliable United States forces of a current ‘kill list’ of Ukrainians that are being targeted for arrest or assassination by Russian forces.
Sources have suggested there are prominent LGBTQ+ people that are included on the list and this is a clear and present danger for Ukrainian activists and organizations. And even though Ukraine has a long way to go towards advancing the LGBTQ+ community, what they have worked for the last few years may be in jeopardy, and key players may be lost with a Russian occupation.
How Foreigners Can Help
Kyiv Pride is using their platforms to assist war efforts and is encouraging everyone to work online to support in whatever way they can those within the country and those attempting to help from outside the borders. Supporters can share information via social media, donate money to help the military efforts and relocation of people, and write to their governments to push them to impose sanctions on Russia.
You can support Kyiv Pride’s efforts by donating, here. More resources to help the people of Ukraine can be found, here. As the conflict continues, HomoCulture will continue to provide the latest information affecting the LGBTQ+ community internationally.