The Ukrainian LGBTQ community living in the United States will have its own column at the New York City Pride March on June 30.

This will be the first time in pride`s 50-year history that the Ukrainian LGBTQ community will rally separately from the Russian activists.

Pride is an annual event celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, or LGBTQ, as well as calling for equal rights for them.

This year, the New York pride, which annually marks the spontaneous demonstrations for LGBTQ rights, known as Stonewall riots, that took place in 1969 in the city and started the LGBTQ movement, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The event is expected to attract 4 million participants and spectators.

Earlier, Kyiv`s Equality March, a rally for LGBTQ rights, held on June 23, gathered a record number of 8,000 attendees.


The formation of the Ukrainian column in New York was initiated by Proud Ukraine, an association of LGBTQ Ukrainians living in the U.S. and Canada.

The founder and president of the association, Ukrainian activist Bogdan Globa, says it’s not only about marching separately from Russians, but the Ukrainian column is also an important step for visibility and mobilization of Ukrainian LGBTQ diaspora in the U.S.

“It is an occasion for the community to come together and do something to help their country,” Globa told the Kyiv Post.

Globa moved to New York three years ago because of the threats he received in Ukraine, where far-right groups often attack LGBTQ activists and oppose the Equality March.

In Ukraine, Globa headed Tochka Opory (Fulcrum), a Kyiv-based LGBTQ foundation. As an acknowledgment of his activity, in 2016, Globa received 30 Under 30, a prize awarded by the Kyiv Post, which celebrates young Ukrainians that achieved fame, acclaim and success.

Read also: Bogdan Globa: Gay activist lobbies for LGBT rights law, fights for acceptance of person’s sexuality.

Ukrainian column

According to Globa, Ukrainian LGBTQ activists have marched in New York along with the column organized by local Russian NGOs since the 1990s. Their column also attracted immigrant activists from other post-Soviet countries, such as Georgia, Armenia, Belarus and Moldova.


However, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and unleashed a war in Ukraine’s east in 2014, many Ukrainians in the U.S. didn’t want to march with Russians anymore.

According to the United Nations, Russia’s war in Ukraine killed 13,000 people over the five years.

Globa says that many Russian LGBTQ activists do not support Kremlin’s aggression, however, Ukrainians still didn’t want to be associated with Russian flags waving over the column.

“I know that many Ukrainians refused to rally in the column after 2014,” Globa says.

The activist says that they expect 40 Ukrainians and up to 15 Georgians to form their column this year.

According to Globa, numerous countries have their own columns at the New York pride.

He says that mobilizing LGBTQ Ukrainians in the U.S. during the march might bring new activities helping the LGBTQ community in Ukraine.

As the U.S. has a huge influence on Ukraine, it is important that Ukrainian diaspora could communicate with the U.S. authorities and advocate for their support of the equality rights in Ukraine.


The Proud Ukraine association, which was founded in 2018, has already started this communication.

On June 27, they have had a discussion in the U.S. Congress, organized along with the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. The discussion focused on the new challenges for the Ukrainian LGBTQ community after the transformation of power, recently elected president Volodymyr Zelensky and the new parliament, which is to be elected on July 21.

Globa says that they want to voice Ukraine’s issues and motivate the U.S. authorities to share their experience of solving problems of such kind.

“It is important because the Congress creates all kinds of support programs,” he says. “We want their cooperation with Ukraine to be more productive, including the one with the parliament on the LGBTQ legislature development.”

He says that some of the most urgent moves that need to be taken in Kyiv are bringing criminal responsibility for crimes against LGBTQ people on the grounds of hatred, and recognizing LGBTQ civil partnership.

Ukrainian LGBTQ activist Bogdan Globa along with other Ukrainian activists attend the New York pride march on June 24, 2018. They did a performance deriding Ukrainian nationalist organization “Natsionalni Druzhyny,” or National Militia.

New York pride

Globa says that the New York pride is much different from the one in Kyiv not only by the scale but by the event’s mood.

The last march the activist attended in Ukraine was in 2016 and he says he didn’t feel safe back then.


“You’re scared that you will get beaten before the pride and you will march with smashed face or it will happen afterward,” he says. “It was a feeling that you were at war.”

In New York, the atmosphere is quite the opposite, he says.

“It’s a holiday here with a totally different level of security, Globa says. “You do not even think about it.”

Last year, Globa along with other Ukrainian LGBTQ people did a performance at the New York pride. They wore t-shirts with the inscription “Natsionalni Druzhyny,” or National Militia, which is a nationalist organization associated with the Azov volunteer battalion of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry forces. The activists accompanied their looks with heels and flower wreaths interpreting the organization’s name “druzhyna” not as an ancient princely army (that’s what they meant by their name) but by its second meaning, a wife.

The nationalist organization opposes Kyiv’s Equality March. Their representatives repeatedly attacked LGBTQ people and other minority groups in Ukraine.

This year, Proud Ukraine isn’t planning to hold any events at the New York pride march because of the lack of resources, however, they are drawing out plans for next year. Globa says that one of the ideas is to present a film about Ukrainian LGBTQ couples that moved to the U.S. to adopt children because it’s impossible in their home country.

The 2019 New York pride will hold around 1,000 events. And its march’s route has already been published.


Globa says that he hopes that one day in Ukraine the Equality March’s route will also be made public in advance.

“I hope that every year more people will come out (for pride march) in Ukraine because they will know that it is safe.”

In order to join the Ukrainian column, get in touch with Proud Ukraine vie email [email protected]. The column will rally close to the middle section of the march’s crowd.

Kyiv Post staff writer Daria Shulzhenko contributed to this report.

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