As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, LGBTQ people are especially fearful for their lives and futures.
While Ukraine does not fully recognize LGBTQ rights – marriage equality is not legal, for example – the country has come a lot farther than Russia, where LGBTQ people continue to be actively persecuted.
Related: If Ukraine falls so do democracies around the world
Marriage equality is not legal in Russia, nor do anti-discrimination protections exist for LGBTQ people. The country is also infamous for its “gay propaganda” law, which was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2013 and prohibits the distribution/marketing of any LGBTQ content deemed “harmful” to minors. The U.S. has also revealed that Russia has a “kill list” of Ukrainians it plans to murder or detain. The list includes several LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ Ukrainians are fleeing the country along with the droves of other Ukrainians, and these refugees face another set of challenges as they seek shelter in places like Poland and Hungary that also remain hostile to LGBTQ people.
Activists and organizations are working round the clock to help LGBTQ Ukrainians stay safe, whether they are fleeing the country or staying put.
Here’s how you can help.
Open Your Home Or Donate Necessary Supplies
Amanda Waliszewska, a Polish activist living in Sweden, is helping coordinate safe accommodations for BIPOC and LGBTQ Ukrainians who have fled.
Waliszewska is providing this form for people in other countries willing to provide an inclusive space for vulnerable refugees.
And QUA, an organization that supports LGBTQ Ukrainians living in America, is looking for LGBTQ and allied Americans who can provide food, donations, shelter, supplies, and other services to Ukrainian LGBTQ refugees. Those willing to provide help can fill out this form. You can also donate money.
Open Your Wallet
For those not in a position to help directly, one of the best ways to help LGBTQ Ukrainians is to give money. There are dozens of organizations and activists seeking financial support. Here are just a few.
OutRight Action International
OutRight Action International, which tackles the systemic persecution of LGBTQ people around the world, is raising money for LGBTQ organizations in Ukraine and nearby countries. According to the website, 100% of donations will go toward helping LGBTQ Ukrainians access food, medical care, shelter, and transportation.
.@OutRightIntl has launched a fundraiser in support of LGBTQ people in Ukraine. 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🇺🇦https://t.co/sta5cqYJ2j
— GLAAD (@glaad) March 2, 2022
Local Ukrainian LGBTQ organization Insight, which provides psychological, medical, and legal help to the LGBTQ community, is accepting donations to help cover the basic needs of LGBTQ people during this crisis.
According to the organization’s website, the team has already opened shelters in two Ukrainian cities, set up deliveries of hormones and other medicines to queer and trans people in need, set up a “help-bot” to provide legal and psychological help for LGBTQ people and women, helped coordinate evacuations of LGBTQ people, and connected LGBTQ people with organizations in other countries.
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Ukrainian LGBTQ rights organization Gender Z is raising money to support LGBTQ Ukrainians who have remained in the country.
The page seeking donations also implores allies to share reliable information, help refugees arriving in their countries, push their governments to help Ukraine, and attend protests to raise awareness of the crisis taking place.
Nash Mir LGBT Human Rights Center
This local advocacy group is focusing on raising money for LGBTQ Ukrainians who cannot leave Kyiv, according to Xtra.
The center has helped educate and protect the legal rights of the local queer community for almost 20 years.
The center, itself, became a victim of the Russian invasion a few weeks ago, when armed vandals broke into and ransacked the center and attacked it workers. The staff is unsure whether the perpetrators were Russian terrorists or Ukrainian citizens taking advantage of the wartime chaos.
The center has also been seeking donations to help recover from the attack.
Activists are promoting a fund to help a group of 500 African and Asian students who came to Ukraine to study at Sumy University and are now stuck in a war zone. Donations will go to medicine, blankets, clothing, and supplies for children, according to the fundraiser.
International LGBTQ organization All Out is working with both Insight and Kyiv Pride to help LGBTQ Ukrainians get out of the country and provide help to those remaining in Ukraine. You can donate here.