Speech on 04.03.2022 at the demonstration in solidarity with the people in Ukraine and on the run

Stop the war! – a queerfeminist statement

A call for queer solidarity with the people of Ukraine and some ideas on what this can look like in practice.

We condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine and want to call for solidarity. Not with a state, not with a national ideology, not for heroic sacrifice for any homeland. But for the support of those who are threatened by physical annihilation and political disenfranchisement.

In times of war and crisis, the consequences hit marginalized people hardest. In Ukraine, this particularly affects the LGBTIQ* community. For almost 30 years, the queer movement in Ukraine has been fighting tirelessly for human rights. And yes, this movement was and is bitterly needed, also against intolerance of the majority population and discrimination by the government. Before the war began, there were parliamentary debates about an anti-hate crime law and initiatives to open marriage to same-sex couples. There were many defeats, but also successes. But now the hard-won freedoms in Ukraine are in danger of being lost in the blink of an eye.

And in Russia, too, the long-standing aggression against queer people will continue to intensify. Aggression on the outside and repression on the inside are two sides of the same chauvinistic, authoritarian policy of Putin. We must oppose this with our resolute solidarity.

In addition, there is the persecution of Russian and Belarusian dissidents living in exile in Ukraine. Among them are journalists, activists and people who simply do not want to hide, but want to lead a self-determined life. Many of them are afraid to be on death lists of Russian secret services and to be hunted down, tortured, killed after a successful invasion. The brutal persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya could experience a cruel comeback. This must be prevented by all means!

We demand:

  • financial and humanitarian aid for the LGBTIQ* community in Ukraine.
  • the reception and protection of all queer refugees from Ukraine
  • asylum for all victims of displacement and violence, regardless of their origin
  • support for the critical Russian opposition. Let’s also make their voices strong, instead of holding them hostage to the crimes of the Russian government out of nationalist detachment.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Kiev Pride. We hope that the attack will be stopped soon, the war will be over quickly. We dream of then being able to take to the streets with our friends for a diverse, free future. But we fear the worst. Let us do everything to ensure that these fears do not come true and that the people affected by the war are given every possible support.

And this is not an empty phrase. Today we can see how important a solidary, left-wing, internationally networked queer community is. The Prague Pride coordinates help in leaving the country, translation and accommodation. Kiev Pride not only cares about defense measures on the ground, but also builds political pressure to allow trans women to leave regardless of their passport status. GenderZ from Ukraine is coordinating humanitarian relief efforts. These are efforts we should take up and support. Politically, practically and financially.

In Germany, for example, funds for the urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people are collected through the fundraising campaign “Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine”. With donations to this cause, you can support the cause in a targeted way.

In the long term, we need to strengthen our queer networks. We don’t want to just react and avert worse, but advocate for better lives for all.

Or as it says in the call for today’s demonstration: For freedom, self-determination and solidarity!

All right-wing, reactionary, chauvinist forces that want to further oppress us should remember one thing very clearly:

We will never stop the fight, for our freedom and our rights!