LGBT+ Community In Ukraine: One Year Into The War
It has been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Despite resulting in displacement and violence, Ukraine’s LGBT+ community has found ways to strengthen its fight for political and civil rights.
In the last year, Ukraine’s society has shifted its perspective on the LGBT+ community. While LGBT+ activists worked to resist the imposition of conservative Russian attitudes, LGBT+ communities advanced their rights in multiple ways. In May of 2022, “Nash Svit,” a Ukrainian LGBT+ organisation, conducted a study finding that 64% of Ukrainians support providing equal rights to the LGBT+ community.
This study indicates a considerable jump, as this percentage also includes those who previously had negative views towards this community. Another study, showcased by the social media group “LGBTIQ Military,” stated that there are more self-identified LGBT+ members in the armed forces of Ukraine than ever before as they have gained more acceptance among the armed forces. In addition, new legislation has been introduced, such as partnership rights for same-sex couples and the prohibition against anti-LGBT+ hate speech.
Anastasia Adriivna, a school teacher, was inspired by opposite-sex couples rushing to get married before joining the fight to launch her campaign for same-sex marriage. Her petition gained over 25,000 signatures, and under Ukrainian law, the president must formally respond to any petition with this many signatures. However, the president argued that this would require a constitutional change which was impossible due to current martial law. Therefore, despite the public support of the LGBT+ community advancing, there is still work to be done to make these rights recognised under the law.
This setback is no surprise, as the LGBT+ community has demonstrated their commitment to pushing for democracy, despite the pushback they have received in the last decade. However, it is also clear that they have seen a significant jump in public support within the previous year.
One of the many characteristics of a nation going to war is that its social norms shift and the conventional expectations of the government and public lessen. This is the same for Ukraine. Often, marginalised communities are mobilised by their nation during a time of chaos. For some groups, this dramatic change provides a gain, while others return to their marginalised status afterward.
An example is Britain granting women the right to vote after World War I. On the contrary, African American troops returned from both wars to continue facing racial discrimination. Therefore, some times of chaos may bring many benefits, such as the increased support of the LGBT+ community in Ukraine; however, there is still the need to expand that support into permanent laws.
The LGBT+ community in Ukraine is gaining support, as the efforts of many activists have made tremendous progress in the past decade. However, although accepting the LGBT+ community by the Ukraine public is a huge step, it does not guarantee the community full access to resources and protection against all forms of hate and discrimination.
Therefore, it is vital to utilise this time and increased support to push on the Ukraine government and lawmakers. Even though the LGBT+ community is on a great wave, it is essential to know that the goal isn’t just to gain public approval but to make legal changes that protect the entire spectrum of the LGBT+ community permanently.
I Just Want To Be Me
A new report on trans and gender diverse communities’ access to and experiences of palliative and end of life care has been produced by Hospice UK – I Just Want To Be Me.
Dr Ellie Kane, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, writes in the foreword: “Caring for people with life-limiting illness is one of the greatest privileges in healthcare.
We see people at their most vulnerable and fragile as we try to listen and hear their story, help them live freely, and ultimately care for them with dignity and compassion as they die. There are few things as powerful when it’s done well. There are few things that can cause as much harm when it’s not.
People who are trans and gender diverse deserve that support as much as anyone else. We have a legal duty to improve care both from the Health and Care Act 2022 and the Equality Act 2010 but we also have a moral duty to improve this simply because it’s the right thing to do.
I’m often asked why we should focus on such a small group of people when healthcare is stretched in so many ways. Evidence tells us making care better for one group makes it better for everyone. It is not one group versus another but rather, how can we make sure we provide the best care for all.”
The Executive Summary
This report shows that in many instances, the end of life care that trans and gender diverse people receive is not inclusive of them, and despite best intentions and a willingness to learn, staff feel they lack the knowledge and training needed.
Trans and gender diverse people who had accessed palliative and end of life care at times experienced insensitivity from staff, misgendering and confusion over their identity and instances of poor physical care.
Palliative and end of life care staff expressed a positive desire to learn and ensure their services are accessible, with those who had received end of life care sharing many positives about the staff they encountered. However, staff raised serious concerns over discriminatory views not being addressed in the workplace, a lack of training and understanding on LGBTQ+ issues, and a lack of access to information on providing medical and clinical care to trans people.
In wider trans and gender diverse communities, many expressed apprehension about one day having to access end of life care services, in part due to a range of negative experiences with other healthcare services. It is essential that palliative and end of life care providers put in the work to make their services inclusive to ensure that trans and gender diverse people do not miss out on vital quality care.
To do this, health and social care staff need to be better equipped to support trans people. They should receive training pre registration on trans and gender diverse communities, and be supported to access further training throughout their career.
Professional bodies and Royal Colleges should also produce guidance on providing medical and clinical care to trans and gender diverse people in palliative and end of life care.
To improve the end of life care experiences of trans and gender diverse people, and the experiences of trans staff and volunteers within end of life care, providers should develop robust policies that support trans and gender diverse people. Trans and gender diverse people within end of life care spaces must be protected from discrimination and supported to transition.
This includes providing trans and gender diverse people with information on medical and physical transition and ensuring that being at end of life is not an additional barrier to transition related healthcare.
The experiences of trans and gender diverse people remain under recognised in end of life care. There has been little research or attempts to platform trans and gender diverse voices in the sector. This report should be used as an opportunity to continue to make palliative and end of life care services more inclusive, and truly open to all. For Hospice UK, this is a first step and we look forward to developing this work.
Download the full report here.
Women’s History Month might be over but our recognition of women’s rights and gender equality doesn’t end in March. This ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) poster from 1989 demonstrates that all of us, including men, play a vital role in advocating for gender equality.
Women were sorely neglected during the tumultuous years of the AIDS crisis. The Los Angeles chapter of ACT UP was one of the foremost grassroots organisations in the US dedicated to creating change around AIDS responses through direct, non-violent action.
The march advertised in this poster was organised by ACT UP, in collaboration with other LGBT+ groups at the time, and was the second annual National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which originated in 1987. For such a prominent organisation to be organising around women’s rights and, in particular, for women affected by HIV/AIDS was extremely important at the time
Rainbow Lottery – Win an iPhone 14 Pro and an Apple Watch Series 8
The clocks have gone forward, there’s some light in the evenings, and we have a fantastic prize to welcome you into April!
To thank you for your ongoing support for Out In The City, we’re giving you the chance to win an amazing Apple tech bundle – a top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro, and an Apple Watch Series 8!
With a massive 48-megapixel camera, a crystal clear 6.1” display, and 128GB of storage – along with all the speed and processing power you’d expect, this really is the upgrade you’ve been waiting for! The Series 8 watch is fantastic for fitness, or just to keep you connected on the move – this combo is something you DON’T want to miss out on!
The special prize draw will take place on Saturday 29 April. Get your tickets here. If you already have tickets, there’s no need to buy separate tickets, you will be automatically entered into this prize draw. Of course, you are welcome to buy additional tickets here. Every ticket you buy is an extra chance to win, and an extra fundraising boost for Out In The City. It’s a win-win situation!
Thank you and good luck!