Skip to main content

Home News News Pride

LGBTQ soldiers take part in Ukraine’s first Pride march since Russian invasion in 2022

Service members wore rainbow and unicorn patches on their uniforms at yesterday's restricted, heavily policed event, attended by 500 and lasting only 30 minutes

By Jamie Tabberer

Several hundred people attended yesterday's Pride march in Kyiv, Ukraine
Several hundred people attended yesterday's Pride march in Kyiv, Ukraine (Image: Instagram/@KyivPride)

LGBTQ soldiers joined a Pride march in Kyiv yesterday (Sunday 16 June 2024), the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Known as the ‘Equality March’, the sombre event was restricted and heavily policed due to security concerns.

The 500 people present – including service members wearing rainbow and unicorn patches on their uniforms – were permitted to walk only 100 metres.

The whole event, which took place in the rain, lasted just 30 minutes.

Organisers said it was the first time since 2015 that such restrictions had been imposed, and that police had overestimated the risks.

“We went out to assert our rights”

“Human rights are about equal people having equal opportunities,” a Kyiv Pride rep said (as per Visit Ukraine).

“Instead, our march was surrounded by cordons of police and buses and allowed to pass only 100 meters.”

Service members present called on the government to grant partnership rights, according to AP.

There were also calls for legal reform to enable individuals in same-sex relationships to make medical decisions for wounded soldiers and arrange burials for victims of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Other attendees included MPs and ambassadors of partner countries including the UK, France and Sweden.

“There will be no music or singing today”

“There will be no music or singing today, because we remember the conditions in which we are doing this,” Anna Sharygina, march organiser and co-founder of the Kyiv Pride NGO, reportedly told crowds.

“We have only taken a few steps, we made this painful compromise for safety and in order to revive the tradition and make a powerful and open March Kiev Pride next year,” Sharygina added.

On Instagram, a Kyiv Pride rep said: “Despite the threat, the pressure, all the dangers and even the downpour, we went out to assert our rights.”

“During the march, we all together thanked the military for the opportunity to live in Ukraine and continue to fight for their rights,” they furthermore added.