While officials braced for a potential attack from Russia on Ukraine for months, the world was stunned when on Feb. 24, Vladimir Putin launched a full-on assault on the country.
Images of troops storming Ukraine's cities, chilling video of missiles crumbling buildings, and audio capturing violent explosions flooded newscasts and social media pages.
Now, many LGBTQ+ Ukrainians still in the country fear what the war means for them and their freedoms.
As reported by the New York Times, Amb. Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. office in Geneva, sent a letter to the U.N. human rights chief in Geneva warning Russia has created a post-invasion “kill list” of Ukrainians. Those on the said list include LGBTQ Ukrainians, as well as journalists, activists, and ethnic and religious minorities.
In 2021 Russia officially banned same-sex marriage and it passed a law against "gay propaganda" in 2013, which made it illegal to equate same-sex and heterosexual relationships or promote gay rights.
While Ukraine still has a long way to go in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, queer communities in Ukraine fear for their physical safety and for their human rights as a result of Russia's invasion.
“We still have a lot of things to do about our rights and our freedoms, but in Ukraine, you can fully express yourself," Edward Reese, project assistant for Kyiv Pride told CBS News.
How to help LGBTQ+ communities fighting in Ukraine
These events may have you wondering how you can help from home. Those wishing to donate can do so to groups directly working to assist refugees and those still in the country like the Global Giving Ukraine Crisis Fund.
“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,” the group’s site reads.
“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.”
You can further contribute by engaging in protests denouncing Russia's actions that are taking place almost every day across the country.
Director of Kyiv Pride, Lenny Emson, urged people to provide “international political support” in an interview with LGBT+ radio station GlitterBeam.
He urged everyone to call on “local authorities, any professionals that you have access” and their governments to help Ukraine.
“Please call on them to stand up right now, to take political action to support Ukraine and to take action against this war,” Emson said. “We are really relying on your help.”
Subscribe to Drag Society to receive your exclusive curation of drag queen merch and must-have accessories