In Ukraine, members of the LGBTQ community are also fighting against Russia. If Putin’s army wins, they fear losing all their rights.
Ukrainians are trying by all means to defend their country against the Russian attack. In the war, which has now been going on for more than three months, many people who could never have imagined it before – including members of the LGBTQ community in Ukraine – are taking up arms, according to the Reuters news agency.
They have chosen a very special badge to represent their community at war: a unicorn is emblazoned on their uniforms – sewn by hand directly under the Ukrainian national flag. According to Reuters, the tradition emerged after Russia annexed Crimea. At the time, it was said that no homosexual, bisexual, transgender or queer people would fight in the Ukrainian army.
Ukraine: The unicorn became a symbol of LGBTQ
That was not the reality back then – and certainly not now that Russia has attacked the entire Ukraine. Nevertheless, the symbol of the unicorn is derived from this. “The LGBTQ community chose the unicorn because it’s a nonexistent character from the fantasy world,” 37-year-old Oleksandr Zhuhan, one of the LGBTQ fighters, told Reuters.
After the Russian attack on February 24, there were only three options: hide in an air raid shelter, run away or join the armed forces, said Antonina Romanova. Romanova self-identifies as a non-binary person, meaning she doesn’t feel like she belongs to either of the two classic genders. “We chose the third option,” says Romanova.
Fear of Putin
It’s not just about defending your own country. It is also a clash of cultures: Russian President Vladimir Putin is oppressing the LGBTQ community in his country. Zhuhan and Romanova are also fighting to prevent that from happening in Ukraine. “Russia is not just taking our land and killing our people,” Zhuhan told Reuters. “They want to destroy our culture. We can’t allow that.”
“The LGBTQ community is in great danger if Russia wins,” another Ukrainian queer volunteer told Forbes. “If Russia wins, it will mean darkness. There will be no right to liberty, no right to be yourself, no right to diversity.”
But even before the war, life was not always easy for the LBTQ community in Ukraine – in the religious society as well as in the army. Oleksandr Zhuhan was also worried about how he would be received by the other members of the troop. But that was largely unfounded, he told Reuters: The commanders quickly made it clear that they would not tolerate homophobia of any kind and that in this situation the only thing that counts is how well someone fights.
Sources: Reuters / “Forbes”
Watch the video: The war in Ukraine through the eyes of a mother: This is shown on the Youtube channel by Olena Gnes from Kyiv. Since the Russian armed forces invaded, she has been reporting first-hand on her experiences and fears.