Under Strict Restrictions and Threats: Pride Parade Held in Kyiv in the Shadow of War

Kyiv, Ukraine - In a symbolic and significant step, the annual pride parade took place this morning (Sunday) in the Ukrainian capital, despite the ongoing war and numerous restrictions imposed on the event


The parade, named the "Equality March", was held under heightened security with limited participation: approximately 500 people marched along a short route of about 100 meters in just 20 minutes.



The event, part of Kyiv's annual pride festival, marked the return of the tradition after a year-long hiatus due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Participants, including members of the LGBTQ community, human rights activists, LGBTQ military service members, foreign diplomats, and even a high-ranking representative of the Ukrainian parliament, demonstrated great courage by participating despite threats from far-right organizations and security risks.

"It was clear to us that we had to hold the parade this year, even if in a reduced format. It's an important statement that the fight for equal rights continues even during wartime. We have not abandoned our values", said Elena Morozova.

The march route, which was kept secret until the last moment for security reasons, began near one of the city's metro stations. Participants, many of whom wore masks to protect their identities, carried placards and chanted slogans calling for equality and international support for Ukraine's struggle. "Russia is a terrorist state" and "Give us weapons to defend our freedom" were among the calls heard.

Parallel to the parade, a counter-demonstration of several dozen far-right activists took place nearby, protesting against the event. Despite the tension, security forces managed to prevent violent clashes between the groups.

The Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, Dmytro Gurin, was the only official government representative participating in the parade. His presence symbolized a certain level of support from the authorities, but many in the LGBTQ community expressed disappointment at the absence of other high-ranking officials.

336909410_144422738561588_2582395249919757407_nDmytro Gurin:

"Today, the Equality March took place – an LGBTQ community event with two clear demands:

Bill No. 9103 on registered partnership, which will allow same-sex couples to register their relationships.
Bill No. 5488 on combating homophobia-based violence.

Meeting these demands costs no money – it's a matter of a few votes and signatures.

Again, these are not demands for budget funds. These are demands for ensuring rights – to family and security.

People cannot be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. And simply put, citizens cannot have fewer rights just because you don't like them.

Equality is what European Ukraine is moving towards, and we as a nation will do everything to achieve this.

Everyone will have the right to a family.
Everyone will have the security to be who they are.

Yes, there were military personnel at the Equality March.
Yes, the Equality March demanded the provision of weapons, and a hundred foreign diplomats saw this".


"We expect more support from state institutions; we are also citizens fighting for the country's future", said one of the march participants.

"We expect greater support from state institutions, after all, we are also citizens fighting for the future of the country", said one of the march participants.

The organization "Kyiv Pride", which was behind the event, acknowledged that it was forced to make significant compromises in the face of authorities' demands. "We wanted to hold the parade at metro stations, but the request was denied. In the end, we agreed to a shortened route to ensure the event could take place", explained a representative of the organization. "It was a painful compromise, but necessary to maintain the tradition and lay the groundwork for larger parades in the future".

The challenges faced by the parade organizers were not limited to official restrictions. In the weeks leading up to the event, LGBT community activists were subjected to numerous threats on social media and in public spaces. "There were those who threatened to attack us if we dared to take to the streets. But fear will not stop us. We are here, we are proud of ourselves, and we are an integral part of Ukrainian society", one activist shared.

Despite the tense atmosphere and the rain that fell throughout the morning, participants managed to maintain a positive and hopeful mood. Many of them viewed the parade as an opportunity to emphasize the connection between the struggle for equality and the overall war for the values of democracy and freedom.

"When we fight against Russia, we are also fighting for our right to live in an open and equal society", said Marina, a lesbian servicewoman who participated in the parade. "I am proud to be Ukrainian, proud to be a lesbian, and proud to defend my homeland".

"This year, we have demonstrated that we are capable of holding a parade even under the most challenging conditions. This gives us the strength to continue our struggle. We hope that the war will soon end, and we will be able to celebrate victory and true freedom – for everyone", one of the organizers concluded.

Ultimately, the annual Pride parade in Kyiv ended after just a few minutes due to the violent intervention of radical groups. The event, intended to promote equality and express support for the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine, quickly transformed.

This year, the presence of dozens of servicemen and women serving in the Ukrainian armed forces and fighting for the country's independence was particularly notable. Their presence raised poignant questions about the concepts of patriotism and masculinity in Ukrainian society.

While LGBTQ+ service members sacrifice their lives for their homeland, the radical groups that opposed the parade are perceived by many as serving, albeit unwittingly, the Kremlin's agenda.

The parade organizers expressed deep disappointment with what transpired and stated that aggression towards the LGBTQ+ community stands in stark contradiction to Ukraine's aspirations to join the European Union. "How can they expect us to integrate into Europe when we are incapable of respecting the basic rights of all our citizens?" one of the organizers questioned.

The events in Kyiv underscore the ongoing tension between the forces of change and those who seek to maintain the status quo. They also bring to the forefront the question of how a society fighting for its independence redefines concepts such as heroism, loyalty, and patriotism. While the military struggle continues at the front, it seems that a battle for the future face of Ukraine is also being waged on the home front.

The radical men

The radical men who effectively disrupted the parade claim to be "real men", but apparently lack the courage to fight for Ukraine and join the ranks of the army.

It remains unclear why these extremist organizations are so concerned with how others live their lives.

It is important to emphasize again and again: This year, dozens of Ukrainian soldiers – both men and women – who sacrifice their lives for Ukraine and are ready to die daily for these same radical "men", participated in the parade in Kyiv! Instead of joining the ranks of the Ukrainian army, the radical "men" chose to attack gay and lesbian soldiers.

At the end of this dramatic day, it became clear that despite difficulties and obstacles, the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine is determined to continue the fight for their rights, even when national and international attention is focused primarily on the war effort.

The Pride parade in Kyiv, albeit brief and limited, sent a clear message: the struggle for equality does not stop, even under the thunder of artillery.

Photos: Content according to Section 27a


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