Ukraine LGBTI: Information, Action, Direction
At ILGA-Europe we recognise that the war is not going to be a short-term situation for vulnerable people in Ukraine, Russia, neighbouring countries, and all countries in Europe and Central Asia that are and will be hosting displaced people. With our deep and nuanced knowledge of the human rights situation for LGBTI people across Europe and Central Asia, we know that there will be great complexity and particular vulnerabilities in the experience of LGBTI refugees, and of those LGBTI people who are either forced, or choose to remain in Ukraine and Russia.
We will be adding resources to each of these three areas below in the coming time.
Our goal is to provide information about what is currently happening for LGBTI people, both staying in Ukraine and Russia, or who are leaving or have left, and what their needs are. We are doing this by:
We are publishing regular updates, telling the story as it unfolds for LGBTI people caught up in the conflict, from the perspective gained at ILGA-Europe.
- Update: 28 March, 2022 As the war continues, the LGBTI movement rallies
At the moment, there is an extraordinary mobilisation of the LGBTI movement. Starting with activists and groups who’ve chosen to stay in Ukraine and be there for their communities, and expanding across Europe.
- Update: 31 March, 2022: What you should absolutely know about trans communities
To mark Trans Day of Visibility, we look at the amazing work trans-led organisations are doing as the war continues, and tell you about the current needs of trans communities staying or leaving the country.
- Update: 15 April, 2022: LGBTI shelters need urgent support, meds a major issue, and more
Here’s our latest update on what’s happening for LGBTI people either staying in or fleeing Ukraine, the ways we’re working to help, and how you can urgently help too.
- Update: 28 April, 2022: The situation for lesbian women in and from Ukraine
Like all members of the LGBTI community who have either remained in Ukraine, or are on the move to a safer place, lesbians are facing specific challenges. This #LesbianVisibilityWeek, we’re learning more.
- Update: 16 May, 2022: Keeping LGBTI people safe as the war in Ukraine continues
Our Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis speaks to UNAIDS about the particular challenges facing LGBTIQ+ people caught up in war.
- Update: 3 June, 2022: The United Nations has identified LGBTI people as a group specifically affected by the war in Ukraine
Working alongside ILGA-Europe, the UN High Commissioner for Refugee has published recommendations for humanitarian actors working with LGBTI people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Identifying rising issues and related advocacy
We are connecting with activists on the ground to identify, assess and document specific needs and vulnerabilities that are arising for LGBTI people caught up in the conflict. We are advocating with relevant institutions, governments and organisations to address these needs in their response to the war in Ukraine.
- Briefing document (March 2022)
- Briefing document (March 2022)
- Briefing document (April 2022)
- Briefing document (May 2022)
- Briefing document (June 2022)
Providing information for LGBTI people seeking refuge
With our partner and member organisations we are researching and providing information specifically relating to the rights and support for LGBTI refugees in host countries in Europe and Central Asia. We are also mapping the access to healthcare pathway and working to address waiting times for trans and intersex people arriving and needing continuing healthcare.
We will be regularly updating information available on how to seek safety and refugees and asylum status for all LGBTI people fleeing the war, including non-Ukrainian nationals, and those from Russian and Belarus.
- Temporary Protection Directive
The European Commission invoked the Temporary Protection Directive on 3 March 2022 to provide safeguards for the rights of Ukrainian nationals and nationals staying long-term in Ukraine, who are fleeing to the European Union (EU).
- Specific Country Guidance
To help individuals fleeing Ukraine and the NGOs and services providers who are supporting them, PILnet, DLA Piper, Amazon’s global legal department, and other law firm partners have prepared country guidance with legal and administrative information.
- UK Scheme for LGBTI Ukranian Arrivals
Micro rainbow can help connect UK sponsors with LGBTQI+ Ukrainian Nationals. After arrival in the UK, Micro Rainbow can provide LGBTQI+ Ukrainians with employability support and social inclusion activities.
- LGBTI Country Contacts
We are continuing to create this living list of LGBTI organisations across Europe who are reaching out to help LGBTI people arriving in their countries.
- Help for Trans Refugees
Transgender Europe have compiled this list of resources for resources for trans people who are in Ukraine or have recently left Ukraine. The information is being regularly updated.
- Specific Measures in Spain
In Spain, this ministerial decree has adopted specific measures to protect, care for and assist LGBTI refugees. The document is in Spanish.
Providing information related to humanitarian aid
We are identifying and providing information we know at this moment that people can ask for in terms of humanitarian aid. We are also connecting with medical and pharmaceutical organisations to quickly and legally address shortages and stockouts of medicines, and to ensure that needed medicines are making it into Ukraine.
Alliance for Public Health is providing resources and information on access to Opioid Substitute Treatment (OST) and Antiretroviral (ARV) treatments.
Our goal is to identify key actions to do our part to ensure the protection and support of LGBTI people and communities affected by the war. Currently we are:
Providing direct financial support
ILGA-Europe is a member of the Dignity for All consortium, which provides emergency funds, advocacy support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and civil society organisations under threat or attack due to their work on human rights and equality for LGBTI people. To find out more please email us here.
We are providing support for organisations welcoming LGBTI refugees in neighbouring countries.
Working with funding institutions
We are working directly with funding institutions to connect needs with new resources, mobilising resources, and bringing LGBTI needs to the attention of funders.
Mapping, connecting and coordinating
We are mapping, connecting and playing a coordinating role between LGBTI organisations working directly with LGBTI people in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, especially on support for refugee resettlement and access to medication.
Advocating for inclusive humanitarian responses
While emergency situations make everyone vulnerable and deprived, existing discrimination and violence against LGBTI people can put them at heightened risks to be left in the blind spot of international protection and humanitarian relief programmes. We are working to connect humanitarian aid providers with LGBTI organisations to ensure humanitarian aid actors are aware of specific needs of LGBTI people, but also that they are able to connect and transfer LGBTI people to the support offered by LGBTI organisations in the Ukraine and in countries where refugees arrive.
Five easy things humanitarian aid actors should do to ensure LGBTI refugees of war are not left behind.
- Protection cluster advocacy note on protection of LGBTIQ+ people in the context of the response in Ukraine
An Advocacy Note on LGBTIQ+ people for humanitarian actors in Ukraine, published on May 17 by the UN Protection Cluster as a joint UNHCR & ILGA-Europe document.
Our goal is to provide guidance and direction to everyone in our membership, the LGBTI wider movement, our allies and beyond who want to play their part in supporting all LGBTI people affected by the war.
Directing funding to the right places
We are in contact with activists and other organisations working to support LGBTI communities in Ukraine and those fleeing, to better understand the needs and see what kind of support may be helpful. The situation on the ground is changing rapidly, and we will provide information on how best to support when appropriate.
To access up to date funding information, click here.
Supporting organisational mental health
While many LGBTI activist organisations have been swift to respond to the arising needs of their communities, both in Ukraine, in neighbouring countries and beyond, there has been little attention paid to the emotional and psychological fall-out from their work at this incredibly fraught time. In our work at ILGA-Europe, we are seeing:
- impacts on activists and groups in Ukraine who are acting as first respondents to support their communities, while themselves having to face the risks of war for them and their loved ones
- impacts on activists and groups in neighboring countries and beyond who are providing urgent help to people fleeing the war
- impacts on Russian activists and groups who are suddenly experiencing more pressure on the operational environment due to an even more actively restrictive regime.
It is important to name wellbeing as a core element of activist needs during this time and beyond. For all of us, knowing the war and our reaction to it is a marathon not a sprint, we need to find ways to support each other to make sure we can continue to do the work and be able to support our communities.
To contribute supporting organisations in burnout prevention and wellbeing when dealing with current crisis situations, ILGA-Europe are launching a series of online consultation sessions on organisational psychosocial support. For more information, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly.
You will also find resources on organisational wellbeing on our Resource Hub, linked below. You may have to register for membership of The Hub, if you are not already a member. This is free, easy and secure.
From our resource sharing centre, The Hub
Psychological First Aid (PFA) describes a humane, supportive response to a fellow human being who is suffering and who may need support. In this resource we give you a guide to providing PFA, without professional training.
From our resource sharing centre, The Hub
The resource explores the nature of secondary trauma, and looks at self-care for activists who are exposed to trauma in their communities.