Ukrainian LGBTQ Soldiers Fight against the “Darkness” of Russian Invasion

LGBTQ Ukrainians are afraid for their safety and identity, as well as their life under possible Russian occupation.

Russian authorities have made no secret about their prejudices against the LGBTQ community. Children are prohibited from viewing content about their lives through the country’s “gay propaganda” law. It acts as a de facto ban on LGBTQ life discussions.

The ‘gay purge in Chechnya’ is a terrifying event in Russian history. The world was also shocked by the brutal genocidal attack against LGBTQ people within the region.

Their invasion of Ukraine is now shocking the entire world. There were numerous reports about the invasion before it took place. In a letter sent by the U.S. to United Nations , plans to target LGBTQ persons (which Russia refers to as “dissidents”) were discussed .

Russia has a list containing “journalists and activists” who could be “killed or sent to camps after the invasion in Ukraine. According to the U.S., it will lead to a “human rights disaster.”

As war rages, three weeks into the conflict, many of them are fighting for the Ukrainian army.

“If Russia wins the LGBTQ people of Ukraine will lose everything”

Vlad Shast, a volunteer for Ukrainian territorial defense tells me that the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine is at great risk if Russia wins.

Shast is only 26 years old and is a popular queer performer on the Ukrainian LGBTQ scene.

Shast was once known for his drag act. Now, he uses his contacts to assist the army in finding materials and supplies.

Russia’s victory will bring darkness. There will not be freedom, no chance to be yourself, and no rights for different communities.

Even before the war, it was difficult to be LGBTQ in Ukraine. The country’s religious society is known for having a high level anti-LGBTQ sentiment. However, Ukraine was a refugee for LGBTQ people from eastern Europe who fled their home countries.

“I know many LGBTQ people from Russia and Belarus who have moved to Ukraine because of discrimination in their homelands,” Yura Dvizhon, a Ukrainian film director and co-founder of Ukraine Pride, tells me.

“Ukraine was a refuge for them. Now they might lose it.”

Despite this harsh sentiment, the Ukrainian LGBTQ community has made remarkable progress in recent years.

The community was fighting for their rights openly, with the right to protest and increasing numbers of Pride marches. Ukraine Pride now focuses on supporting and funding LGBTQ individuals fighting in the military.

Dvizhon informs me that if Russia wins, LGBTQ persons in Ukraine will lose all they have accomplished in the recent years.

“Putin’s attack on democratic, liberal values is”

The war unites the Ukrainians. It is clear that Ukraine’s will comes from protecting democratic and liberal values. This is why Vlad Shast has never had any problem being openly LGBTQ and supporting his country’s defense.

“I don’t have to be someone I am not. My sexual orientation or identity is irrelevant. It is important to achieve a large goal: win and have the Russian troops leave our country.

This might not surprise anyone who reads it. What is the point of sexuality being on everyone’s minds right now? It’s very real, I can tell you. For the LGBTQ community, prejudice can creep up in the most unexpected places.

History has repeatedly shown that it is the marginalised communities, like ours, who suffer most in times of crisis.

“No one cares about me, even conservative team members. They prioritize freedom over personal opinions. Every soldier who joins defense is a human being.

“We function as one body where every person knows their worth and takes responsibility. This is due to the powerful goal of defending our national identity, dignity and freedom – not just for Ukraine. Putin’s attack on democratic, liberal values is as important for Ukrianians as it is for the rest.

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