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“Unite for equality and victory”: Kyiv Pride March is set to happen amid war 

After 2 years break due to Russia’s full-scale invasion, the Kyiv Pride March will eventually take place on 16 June in a closed format, with only 500 pre-registered and approved participants, including the NGO “Ukrainian LGBT+ Military for Equal Rights,” which draws attention to unequal rights because of their identity and the need for weapons to defend Ukraine.
Ukrainians at a Pride March
Ukrainians at a Pride March. Source: KyivPride on X
“Unite for equality and victory”: Kyiv Pride March is set to happen amid war 

The KyivPride March is set to take place in Kyiv on 16 June, after a two-year break due to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, however this time it is organized with limitations and heightened security. 

In 2023, Russia’s Supreme Court labeled LGBT+ movement as an “extremist organization,” basically banning all forms of LGBTQ+ rights activism in the country, which applies to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.

Due to security concerns amid war, the march will be limited to 500 participants, including activists, representatives of LGBTQ+ and human rights organizations, volunteers, and diplomats. The event will be held in a closed format, with the location and route disclosed only to pre-registered and approved individuals, according to KyivPride

The organization has taken several measures to ensure the safety of the march, including negotiations with law enforcement and local authorities, planning the route near a shelter, and developing a “plan B” in case of an air alert. 

“Not holding the KyivPride march for the third time since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean for us to admit the victory of the ‘Russian world,'” said Anna Sharyhina, the head of the KyivPride board to on the Ukrinform press briefing.

The concept of the “Russian World” (Russkiy Mir) is an ideological framework employed by Russia, which promotes a “holy” mission of Russia to protect traditional family values against the perceived moral decay of the West, including “perversity” of LGBTQ+, as Russian propaganda calls it. 

The head of the KyivPride board, Anna Sharyhina, emphasized the importance of holding the march in Kyiv this year, despite the risks. She stated that one of the event’s goals is to make Ukraine more visible on the international stage and demand protection from Russia, as the LGBTQ+ community is also part of Ukrainian society and suffers from Russian attacks, she told Ukrinform. 

The NGO “Ukrainian LGBT+ Military for Equal Rights” will also join the Pride, bringing attention to discrimination and unequal rights they face in the society and at the same highlighting the need for air defense and weapons for Ukraine in its fight against Russia. 

“We have a strong community of LGBTQ+ military personnel. Not all of them are open, but those who are open will also come to the march. And we want to show to Ukrainians and to the world that there are LGBTQ+ military personnel in Ukraine,” Sharyhina said.

Sharyhina emphasized the significance of the march for LGBTQ+ individuals who are currently serving in the military, living under occupation, or in captivity, as well as those who cannot afford to fight for their rights due to difficult circumstances. 

The march’s theme, “Unite for equality and victory” aims to convey a message that representatives of LGBTQ+ are parts of the Ukrainian society and also contribute to the victory. 

“The time has come to show the whole world that Ukrainian society is confidently stepping towards democratic values,” KyivPride wrote on Facebook. 

Same-sex marriages in Ukraine are not legally recognized as of 2024. 

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