(Photo Credits: Anntinomy, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
In the early hours of Thursday morning—February 24, 2022—Russia attacked Ukraine on all fronts: land, water, and air. If you have no idea why this happened or what is happening, the conflict has been brewing between the two countries for several years now and the tension has been escalating since 2021. Read more about it here.
And while it’s only been over a day since the crisis came to a head, concerns about what could happen to the LGBTQ community in Ukraine has already been talked about way before this. According to the US intelligence, Russia has a “kill list,” a file of people they plan to kill, kidnap, and sent to camps. Not surprisingly, the LGBTQ Ukrainians as well as the gay rights advocates in the country made it to that list along with the journalists, activists, and ethnic and religious minorities.
The intel was reportedly leaked through a letter on 21 February. Russia was, of course, quick to deny having such a list, their spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said: “This is an absolute falsehood. This is a lie. I know that this is totally invented.” He added, “There’s no such list. This is fake.” Read more about it here and here.
Meanwhile, the LGBTQ people in Ukraine fears about what this could mean for them. “That would mean a direct threat to me and especially, well, to me and to the person I love,” said Iulia in an interview with CBS News. Iulia is 18 years old, and is currently studying law in Kharkiv, because she “wants to use her degree to fight for LGBTQ rights in Ukraine.”
“In Russia, LGBTQ people are persecuted,” Iulia said. “If we imagine that Russia occupies all of the Ukraine or just a big part of the country, they won’t allow us to exist peacefully and to fight for our rights as we are able to do that in Ukraine right now.”
Further, she related that although “Ukraine still has a long way to go, it was making real progress in terms of acceptance of LGBTQ people,” that while their country doesn’t allow same-sex marriage yet, she thinks it’s only a matter of time and is “only a few years away.”
“We still have a lot of things to do about our rights and our freedoms, but in Ukraine, you can fully express yourself.” Iulia added, “It’s much more safer (sic) than in Russia, believe me. It’s much easier.” Read the interview in full here.
Meanwhile, the Canada-based organization Rainbow Railroad released a statement saying:
Rainbow Railroad joins the international community in condemning the unjust attack on Ukraine perpetrated by Russia.
We are concerned about the impact this conflict will have on the LGBTQI+ community in Ukraine and are preparing, in consultation with our partners in the region and around the world, how we can provide help to individuals at risk.</blockquote><br><br>
You can read Rainbow Railroad’s statement in full here.