Following Russian invasion, OutRight launches fundraiser for LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine and Kyiv Pride director speaks out

Following Russian invasion, OutRight launches fundraiser for LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine and Kyiv Pride director speaks out
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OutRight International has launched a fundraiser to help support LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. The Director of Kyiv Pride has also appealed for international LGBTQ+ support. 

 

Russian president Vladimir Putin launched his much-threatened military operation in Ukraine on Thursday morning (24 February), a move which campaigners anticipate will have grave consequences for LGBTQ+ people in the country. 

 

While social media has been flooded with harrowing images and videos on the ground in Ukraine, the organization behind Kyiv Pride had a strong message of defiance for Russia’s tyrannical leader yesterday (February 24), Tweeting:

“Putin will break all his teeth trying to bite us. We have left far behind the past to which he seeks to draw us. We are a country that has chosen the values of human rights, humanity, life and personality. Putin lives in the past, he has a place there.” 

 

The invasion follows reports that Russia has a list of “journalists, activists and gay rights advocates” to “be killed or sent to camps” after the invasion, according to documents reports by The Washington Post, subsequently obtained by CNN

“Specifically, we have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation,” said a letter in the report dated 20 February.

 

As the situation continues to unfold in Ukraine, OutRight, the global LGBTQI organization, has set up a fundraiser for LGBTQ+ people affected by the crisis. Donations will be tunnelled to LGBTQ+ groups in Ukraine and nearby countries to provide shelter and support.

 

In a statement on their donation page, OutRight say: 

“As the situation continues to unfold in Ukraine, we at OutRight have started to receive the first requests for support from LGBTIQ organizations which are preparing to receive LGBTIQ people in search of shelter, safety and security.”

“Already, people are leaving Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and the eastern part of the country for, at the moment, safer rural areas and the western parts of the country, while neighboring EU countries work to prepare shelters for an influx of displaced people.”

“As we know all too well, in times of crisis, LGBTIQ people who are already marginalized face higher risks and cannot count automatically on access to humanitarian and/or social assistance.”

“That’s why we need your urgent support today. 

So together in solidarity, let’s give our community some sense of hope and help, by providing the funds they need to survive, and the resilience they need to thrive.”

 

You can find more info below and donate to OutRight International’s fundraiser for Ukraine by clicking here.

Meanwhile, director of Kyiv Pride Lenny Emson spoke to LGBTQ+ radio station GlitterBeam, saying:

“This is not an easy situation to be in.”

“Of course, there is some anxiety, there is some panic, we’re all people, but first of all, we’re angry and we’re ready to fight. We want this to end. We want peace.”

Emson went on to discuss the progress LGBTQ+ people had made in the country, noting that while LGBTQ+ people are still not “totally fully accepted in society”, advancements had been made which would only regress under Russian rule. 

 
“We started our first Pride in 2012, so this year will be the 10th anniversary of the Pride march in Kyiv. Right now, we are in the situation when our parliament now is looking at voting for the anti-LGBT+ hate crime legislation that would really free us of hate crimes… we are discussing now the possibility of introducing equal marriages for same-sex couples in Ukraine.”
 
“We understand that LGBT+ Pride will be the first target for Russia, but we believe in the Ukrainian army that has been fighting already for 24 hours holding Russia back. We want to hope and we want to believe that the international community will stand up and help us in this fight. We don’t want to believe that Ukraine will be Russia. There is no space for human rights in that country. We don’t want Ukraine to be the same, and we are going to fight against it.”
 
“From the international community, we have just tremendous support. We’re really grateful for this, we receive tonnes of emails, direct messages, and posts in social media supporting us specifically as  LGBTQI community”, Emson continued.
 
“This is what we need right now to feel that you’re not alone in this. We need you to act.”
 

“We need you to go to your government. We need you to address local authorities, any professionals that you have access to.”

 
“Please call them to stand up right now, to take political action to support Ukraine, and to take action against this war. We are really relying on your help.”
 
 
Listen to the interview here or using the link below:
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