Ukrainian Queer Beats “Russkiy Mir”: the Warsaw Equality Parade Report

War has impeded this year’s Kyiv march in Ukaine, so it’s setting was switched to Warsaw. Karolina Yatskovska, a photographer, has captured for Bird in Flight the parade in support of the LGBTI+, with anti-war mottos and posters about Azovstal.

On June 25 the Equality Parade took place in Warsaw. This year its motto was Warsaw & Kyiv Pride marching for peace. One of the event co-hosts was the non-governmental organization KyivPride which couldn’t carry out the walk in Kyiv due to the ban on rallies under the martial law.

The march starting point was the city centre, the Palace of Culture and Science, and it stretched for 5 km to the downtown. The parade’s organizers have arranged for 30 music stage from various public organizations and companies, waiting for about 120 thousand participants to turn up.

KyivPride NGO has written a Stand with Ukraine manifesto declaring that the Ukrainians are an equal nation within the European family of nations; calling for bearing in mind the Ukrainian border, assisting the Ukrainian people and the Army, and respecting the LGBTI+ community needs. Also, the KyivPride representatives stated that it would be unacceptable to bring any russian symbols to the event, including the white-blue-red flag. Besides, the organizers urged walking out with the banners in support of the Azovstal defenders who are currently captured by the russians.

The KyivPride NGO manager Oksana Solonska told Bird in Flight that even though the parade hosts were prepared to any incitements from the russians, the event was peaceful and safe. It was largely guarded by the police. Up to three thousand people marched in KyivPride’s line, with the representatives of 10 Ukrainian NGOs among them, such as KharkivPride, OdesaPride, Gay-Alliance Ukraine etc.

It is worth noting that Poland is the country least friendly towards the LGBTI+ people in the EU; in 2020, some local communities have even proclaimed themselves as “LGBT-free zones” – they occupied a third of the country’s area. The leading party also approved of such a decision. Poland doesn’t recognize civil unions and doesn’t allow for the same-sex marriage; likewise, it didn’t approve of many laws adopted in the other EU countries to protect the LGBTI+ community rights (e.g., on preventing the hate speech and discrimination in services).

Nevertheless, pride has been held in Warsaw since 2001, in 2019 over 50 thousand people turned up. The LGBTI+ people in Poland are allowed to serve in the army, be blood donors and legally change their sex.

Photo: Karolina Yatskovska

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