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Ukrainian LGBTQ Advocates Visit HRC to Discuss Challenges and Opportunities

Seven leading LGBTQ advocates from Ukraine visited HRC earlier this week to share their stories and learn about our work. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and Open World Leadership Center organized the program.

HRC staff gave the Ukrainian advocates a briefing about our work in public education and research, including our international work. They also had an opportunity to meet with representatives from the Council for Global Equality (CGE).

HRC, CGE and the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation hosted an evening reception for the advocates where they were invited to share their stories.

Kharkiv-based lesbian feminist advocate Anna Borysivna Sharyhina, who is involved with the Sphere Women’s Association and in organizing the annual Kiev Pride, said “working to build an inclusive society is more important now more than ever as we face foreign aggression and domestic instability.”

Ukraine has been subjected to Russian armed aggression from the regime of Vladimir Putin, including the invasion and forcible annexation of the province of Crimea three years ago.

Despite the conflict, Ukraine has made progress with regards to equality. In 2015, parliament passed non-discrimination legislation providing workplace protections for LGBTQ citizens.

“Ukranian LGBTQ advocates and activists face deadly challenges — such as the bomb scare ahead of last year’s Pride march in Kiev,” said HRC Global Associate Director Saurav Jung Thapa. “Despite dangers like these and the uncertain security situation, advocates continue to fight courageously for their rights,” he added.

HRC Global will stand with Ukrainian advocates as they continue their important and timely work despite the impact Russia and Putin are having on the region. Read more about our work here.