Desperate to avoid the shadow of Vladimir Putin’s bigotry regime falling on Ukraine, LGBTQ volunteers tell The Daily Beast that members of the gay community have been rushing to prepare for this invasion of Ukraine. in recent weeks.
Now, they are ready to fight back and resist the Russian occupation if Putin’s forces want to stay on Ukrainian soil.
Veronika Limina, who lives in Lviv, in the remote West of the country, runs a camp that teaches LGBTQ volunteers basic medical and combat skills.
She signed up for Lviv’s territorial defense force and says she’s ready to join the fight, as Putin’s forces move west across the country.
“I was very angry,” she told The Daily Beast, as the Russians bombed cities and drove tanks deeper into Ukrainian territory. “We will kill Putin.”
Limina, who works for an NGO that promotes equal rights for LGBT people in the military, said the gay community in Ukraine will resist the Russian occupation despite continued discrimination against them. trial at home. The substitution is unbearable.
“Either we defend our country, and it becomes part of the free world, or there won’t be any freedom for us and it won’t be Ukraine.”
On Sunday, the US warned that Russia had a “kill list” of Ukrainians who would be detained or killed. The list is said to feature a variety of journalists, LGBTQ+ people, politicians and government officials.
Andrii Kravchuk, who works at LGBTQ Nash Svit . Centerin Kyiv says the impact of homophobia in Russia has been felt in his homeland in the Donbas region, where he fled after the 2014 invasion.
“We are very aware of the threats we face – as both Ukrainians and LGBT+ people. We understand that Russian occupation means total lawlessness and repression — we see that right now in Ukrainian-occupied territories like Crimea and Donbas,” he said.
“Now we have only two choices: either we defend our country, and it becomes part of the free world, or there won’t be any freedom for us and there won’t be any freedom. is Ukraine.”
Although the war between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for the past eight years mainly in the East, it turned into a full-blown invasion on Thursday morning.
“Many LGBT+ activists, who have experience participating in Euromaidan events, are joining the Territorial Defense forces or have training in medical assistance,” says Kravchuk. “LGBT+ people who have served in the military and military volunteers are ready to return to their service. We are doing the same as the rest of the country.”
Russia has a history of serious human rights violations. The anti-gay purge in the Russian Republic of Chechyna has fueled an underground LGBTQ community. Many people have been detained in the area, while many others have fled.
In Donbas, a Russian-backed southeastern breakaway region of Ukraine, the LGBTQ community witnessed what would happen if pro-Putin thugs took control. Before the Donbas war, the gay community was very developed, but since 2013, it has been supported by Russia secessionists has brought to the region many homonymous rhetoric. In many cases, the LGBTQ community faces assault, detention and violence.
Putin himself has a history of homophobia. While speaking at the annual meeting of Valdai Discussion Club last year, he said “gender laxity” was a “crime against humanity”. He also signed a “gay propaganda” law in 2013, pledging to uphold “traditional values.”
Kravchuk himself fled Luhansk, near the Russian-Ukrainian border, in 2014 after shelling began. After escaping, he moved to Kyiv, where he lived with his boyfriend. His family is still at home. On his return from the market in recent days, his brother was arrested by the Russian occupation forces and announced that he would be forced to join the army to defend the pro-Russian “People’s Republic of Luhansk”, even though he artificial knee joint. Although his brother may be fighting for the other side – against his will – Kravchuk says he will keep fighting.
On Friday morning, he texted The Daily Beast: “We’re safe for now, but nobody knows what could happen in a few hours.”
Valery Brown, who self-identifies as a lesbian, said she has also been trained to resist Putin’s invasion. Before the conflict began, she told The Daily Beast: “I’m trying to do my best to prepare for different outcomes.”
Twenty-four hours after the invasion began, she wrote back: “This is horrible.”
Not all LGBTQ Ukraine are prepared to fight. Some are volunteering to help frontline soldiers and LGBTQ civilians. Viktor Pylypenko, head of the Ukrainian LGBT Soldiers NGO, said many LGBTQ soldiers are already on the front lines and LGBTQ civilians are helping to raise money, equipment, weapons and medical aid for the soldiers. frontline.
Ukraine’s LGBTQ community is showing strength and courage even as Russian-backed separatists have begun shelling and the Western world is bracing for any possible outcome. Many have nowhere else to go – Ukrainians and the LGBTQ community say they will fight to save their country.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/ukraines-gay-combat-volunteers-are-ready-to-fight-for-their-lives-against-anti-lgbtq-vladimir-putin?source=articles&via=rss Ukraine’s gay combat volunteers are ready to fight for their lives against anti-LGBTQ Vladimir Putin