Andriy Maymulakhin, a Ukrainian queer activist and head of the LGBTQ+ organization Nash Mir Center, tells us about the current events in the country and the state of the LGBTQ+ community.
Shortly after the Russian invasion, Nash Mir’s office was looted and its staff was attacked. Surprisingly, the attackers were Ukrainians, which once again demonstrates the tense situation in the country.
“Our organization is quite small. The group consists of 5 people, and there are about 12 activists across the country. No one has ever expressed a desire to leave the country. This is our country.”
For many reasons, the war was a shocking strike on the Ukrainian LGBTQ+ community. In the last few years the situation for the community had been changing for the better. If Russia gets the control over their lives, they are afraid, that those small victories acquire through hard work will once again be under threat. According to Andriy, LGBTQ+ rights in Ukraine have improved since 2014, changed for the better and that they definitely differ from Russia.
“5 years ago, a sociological study showed, that 80% of Ukrainians do not support LGBTQI individuals, they were against Pride being held. According to last year’s results, 56% of the answers were negative, which indicates the significant increase in acceptance. We believe, that slow but steady progress is taking place. It is unbelievable that we might have to get used to the “Russian world”, with its morals and laws that are directed against LGBTQI people. In that case, it is likely that LGBTQI activists will end up in concentration camps or on the list of the undesirable people of Russia.”
Andriy at the moment is at a controlled territory in Ukraine and is feeling relatively safe. He will try to go to west Ukraine, in order to be closer to his family and partner. He calls on other governments to support Ukraine and says that he prefers death to walking the “Russian way”.