Building social change

Even a few years ago, it was impossible to even hope for wide acceptance of gay rights in Ukraine. And yet Ukraine is on the cusp of passing civil partnerships into law.

From The Economist:

As his fellow recruits got to know him better, the intimidation [he initially suffered] died down. Now Mr Lagoyda is serving on the front line and all the 180 people in his unit know he’s gay. He posts selfies looking fit in his camo fatigues with washboard abs and immaculate stubble. He is also a member of LGBTIQMilitary, an Instagram account that features lgbt people in military service. It even has a link to buy merch: mugs and cloth patches depicting an armoured unicorn breathing fire. “Wherever I serve,” says Mr Lagoyda, “everyone tells me: ‘Because you are here at war, in principle I have no right to call you gay or a faggot; you are just a person who is protecting us on an equal footing’.”

When there’s a real existential threat, there’s no room for petty discrimination.

Ukrainian LGBT groups have documented how lesbian and gay people in Russian-occupied territories have been hunted down, raped, detained and humiliated. Tattoos of gay symbols are as much a red flag to Russian troops as Ukrainian tridents. Transgender people there are afraid to go out into the streets. Ms Lapina says “Ukrainians have begun to see more clearly that hate in any form—racism, homophobia—is basically Russian propaganda.”

When you have two value systems in front of you, with the results of a hate-driven society on clear display, it becomes very easy to chose.