into the streets

LGBTQ activists protest in support of Ukraine at Stonewall Inn

Activists gathered at the Stonewall Inn on Saturday, February 26, to stand in solidarity with LGBTQ Ukrainians facing persecution amid the Russian invasion, and in the shadow of a rumored Russian post-occupancy “kill list” that reportedly includes members of the queer community.

Advocacy group QUA — LGBTQ Ukrainians in America led the anti-Putin protest, where Ukraine supporters made speeches and held signs including messages like “LGBTQ+ Ukraine we [heart] you” and “Queer people anywhere are responsible for queer people everywhere.”

“Once again Putin and Russia have decided to rob Ukraine of its sovereignty and claim ownership of Ukrainian people. Thousands of our brothers and sisters are under attack; Ukraine, as the only truly democratic former republic in the region, is under threat,” Bogdan Globa, co-founder of QUA, said in a statement announcing the event.

“If we still believe in freedom and democracy, we must stand in solidarity with Ukrainian society at this challenging and dark moment in Ukraine’s history.”

Globa led those gathered on Saturday in singing the Ukrainian anthem and called on the governments of the United States and the European Union to do more to offer support for Ukraine.

“Sometimes, with this scale of crisis, it can be so hard to figure out where to start,” observed Daniela Lapidous, a field director at the Green New Deal Network, who spoke at the rally.

“But we can’t let that keep us in paralysis about what to do. It is important that you keep speaking up. It is important that you keep contacting your city council members, your state senators, the governor, your representatives, because all of us, here in New York City in particular, we will be welcoming a lot of refugees from this crisis.”

Among those attending Saturday’s demonstration were State Senator Brad Hoylman and New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher, both of whom are themselves members of the LGBTQ community.

“It’s so important for every public official to stand in support of Ukraine right now,” said Bottcher. “And I gotta say, I am shocked and angered by the Russian propaganda that we are hearing from elected officials, including right here in New York City on the left. It’s wrong. Shame!”

“But the LGBTQ community, in many ways we are at the pinnacle of power in this country and we’re very powerful here in New York,” he continued. “So let’s use the power that we have, the voice that we have, to speak out against what’s happening abroad, and in support of Ukraine.”

QUA also announced, on Saturday, the formation of an aid network to help those impacted by the Russian invasion.

“Russia’s war has displaced millions in Ukraine. LGBTQ+ people are particularly vulnerable in times of displacement, and need safe and affirming shelter and community support,” a statement on the group’s site reads.

“QUA is connecting a network of LGBTQ+ folks and allies in the Unites States who are willing to provide support to LGBTQ+ refugees. Food, housing, translation services, pro bono legal support—we are looking to ready any and all assistance to this at-risk community.”

Those interested in offering support, or looking for it, can connect through their website.

Related: Here’s where you can donate to help LGBTQ Ukrainians