The war in Ukraine is often framed as a struggle over Ukrainians belonging to either the East or the West. Given this, it becomes clear why especially LGBTQIA+ activists stress Ukraine’s commitment to so-called Western values. They include human rights and, in particular, the acceptance of the queer community. On the other side, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin created “traditional values” as the dominant narrative in his third presidential term. Experts state that the Kremlin constructed homophobia as geopolitics, and the war on Ukraine is the continuation of this politics by other means. Indeed, Putin even targeted the queer community in his February 24 speech, which attempts to justify the attacks on Ukraine.
What are the realities for trans people in the war? Do they encounter discrimination during their flight or fight? And how has queer activist work changed within Ukraine?
Melanie Jaindl (IDM) asked these questions to Edward Reese, a queer activist and project assistant at Kyiv Pride. Edward shares their own experiences of leaving Ukraine, their opinions about gendered war narratives and explains the importance of searching for LGBTQIA+ communities in a new environment.
Our guest recommendation:
The 2022 Eurovision’s winner Kalush Orchestra’s video clip Stefania, 2022
Sources about Ukraine in English:
The telegram channel Ukraine Now [English]
The daily newspaper The Kyiv Independent
The daily newspaper Kyiv Post
The media platform Hromadske International
The twitter channel @xenasolo
The Instagram account Svidomi, @svidomi_eng
Looking for the queer community in Vienna? Get in touch with Queer Base.
To learn more about LGBTQIA+ topics, check out our other podcasts:
Pride despite Prejudice – Sarajevo’s first rainbow march in 2019, with Emina Bošnjak and Emma Hontebeyrie.
Nationalism in the scope of patriarchy, with Dr Elissa Helms and Chiara Maria Murgia.
Guest: Edward Reese, queer activist and project assistant for Kyiv Pride.
Host: Melanie Jaindl, Assistant Editor at IDM