The Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on March 24, 2022 has sparked a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions in Ukraine and across Europe. As the war drags on, it has become more brutal and intense, and civilians are increasingly targeted in cities across the country. More than four million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, the majority of them to Poland, but also to Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Germany and elsewhere, as well as to Russia and Belarus. Millions more are internally displaced and there are fears that the refugee crisis will get grow, as more than one in four Ukrainians have been forced from their homes.
In response to the Biden administration's announcement to resettle up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing the Russian invasion, HRC has released the following statement.
HRC invited Rainbow Railroad, an LGBTQI+ refugee advocacy and support organization, for a Twitter Takeover to sound the alarm on the humanitarian crisis that is the millions of Ukrainians displaced following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This is @KimahliPowell, the Executive Director of @RainbowRailroad, an organization that helps LGBTQI+ individuals facing persecution escape to safety. I’m doing an #HRCTwitterTakeover today to mark one month since the Russian invasion of #Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/JUylbTGtV1— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 24, 2022
LGBTQ+ people caught up in this crisis are at special risk because of the disproportionate impact that conflict or humanitarian crises have on marginalized and vulnerable people, including LGBTQ+ individuals.
HRC is closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates on this page as the crisis unfolds.
Concerns for LGBTQ+ people in the region
Physical safety and security of LGBTQ+ people inside Ukraine because of the war.
Ability of LGBTQ+ -serving organizations to continue to function because of war conditions, food scarcity, transport and financial breakdowns.
Situation of trans people (men and women) not able to leave Ukraine because of conscription laws.
Inhospitable conditions facing LGBTQ+ refugees in neighboring countries due to homophobia and transphobia among the general refugee population as well as anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in the country.
The LGBTQ+ community in Russia is under increased pressure, not only because of possible restrictions on their ability to receive funds, but also because of increased scrutiny of civil society more broadly and the shutting down of any dissent.
Should Russia occupy Ukraine, the situation of LGBTQ people in Ukraine will likely get worse -- not only are LGBTQ people and other vulnerable minorities likely to be targeted by a hostile occupying force, but Ukraine's budding democratic institutions are also likely to be shut down, including organizations that support the LGBTQ community.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Support LGBTQ+ Organizations Inside and Outside Ukraine
The overwhelming request from LGBTQ organizations is for financial support to provide safe space and other protection and support for their communities.
These organizations are raising funds to support LGBTQ people inside Ukraine, as well as LGBTQ refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.
Sphere/Kharkiv Pride - An HRC partner, this local women’s and LGBTQ+ organization is now working on humanitarian aid in the war-torn east of the country. Donate.
Kyiv Pride - The largest LGBTI organization in Ukraine that is currently providing humanitarian support to LGBTI people in Kyiv. Created a group chat in Russian for LGBTI+ people who want to ask or offer help, post opportunities about settlement and transportation, and support each other. Donate.
LGBTI Human Rights Nash Mir Centre
Insight LGBTQ: helps with temporary housing, relocation to safer areas, food, medicine, offers psychological and legal support. Donate.
Egalite Intersex Ukraine: Raises awareness and visibility of Intersex people in Ukraine. Donate.
NGO Fulcrum: Supporting relocation, shelter, emergency aid to LGBTI persons. Donate.
Gender Z - Based in Zaporizhzhia, Gender Z provides support to community members who remain and need emergency assistance, such as shelter and basic needs. Donate.
Alliance Global - Funding a shelter in Kyiv for MSM and trans* people who are unable to leave the city and are in difficulty.
Zboku - Based in Kyiv, Zboku is an art initiative that needs funds to maintain their space that became a bomb shelter and continue their work on making and protecting art.
Rainbow Railroad is a North American organization that provides practical assistance and lifesaving support to LGBTQ+ refugees around the world. Last year they assisted more than 2,000 refugees, including many from Afghanistan.
Outright Action International is raising funds to distribute to LGBTQ+ organizations inside and outside Ukraine.
Organizations in neighboring countries that are supporting LGBTQ+ refugees from Ukraine include:
FOR LGBTQ+ PEOPLE SEEKING HELP
The following organizations may be able to provide advice and guidance for you. Visit their sites to learn more about what they do.
Rainbow Railroad is a North American organization providing practical assistance and lifesaving support to LGBTQ+ refugees around the world.
Dignity for All provides emergency assistance; security, opportunity, and advocacy rapid response grants; and security assessment and training to human rights defenders and civil society organizations under threat or attack due to their work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights.
ILGA Europe may be able to guide you to organizations inside and outside Ukraine that are helping LGBTQ+ refugees and those that want to leave.