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Ukrainian lawmakers pass LGBTQ-inclusive media regulation bill

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy backed civil partnerships law in August

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Viktoriya, a woman from northern Ukraine who is completing her PhD in Berlin, marches in the Christopher Street Day parade on July 23, 2022. Ukrainian lawmakers have passed a bill that will ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Lawmakers in Ukraine on Thursday unanimously approved a media regulation bill that will ban hate speech and incitement based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It’s a big step for Ukraine, to start adoption of our legislation to European values,” Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight, a Ukrainian LGBTQ and intersex rights group, told the Washington Blade. “We hope our government will recognize LGBTQI people as equal as soon as possible.”

Ukraine since 2015 has banned employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2021 pledged Ukraine would continue to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity after he met with President Joe Biden at the White House. 

Russia on Feb. 24, 2022, launched its war against Ukraine. Zelenskyy less than six months later said he supports a civil partnerships law for same-sex couples.

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Europe

Transgender journalist who enlisted in Ukrainian military wounded

Shrapnel from a Russian artillery shell struck Sarah Ashton-Cirillo on Thursday

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Sarah Ashton-Cirillo in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Ashton-Cirillo)

Shrapnel from a Russian artillery shell on Thursday wounded a transgender woman from Las Vegas who is serving in the Ukrainian military.

Sarah Ashton-Cirillo told the Washington Blade that part of the artillery shell hit her in the head and right hand while her unit, the 209th Battalion of the 113th Brigade in the Donbas, was on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

“I was hit this morning,” she wrote in a tweet. “My injuries are permanent. I’ve lost part of my hand and have scarring on my face.”

A video that Ashton-Cirillo posted to Twitter shows a fellow soldier bandaging her hand.

Explosions can be heard in the distance as Ashton-Cirillo speaks.

“They can’t kill us. They can’t hurt us. Victory is ours. It doesn’t fucking matter. Why? Because we’re Ukraine,” she said. “Ultimately Putin is going to be the one dead … and this is the small price for liberation and freedom. Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!)”

Friday marks a year since Russia launched its war against Ukraine.

Ashton-Cirillo enlisted in the Ukrainian military after she covered it.

“I want to serve this fight for freedom, this fight for liberty, this fight for all of us,” she told the Blade last December while she was in D.C. to speak with lawmakers on behalf of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry about continued support for Ukraine.

Ashton-Cirillo on Wednesday sent the Blade pictures of her “from the trenches” where she and her unit are fighting. Ashton-Cirillo said “this act of war by Putin has set in motion a timely and irreversible civil rights movement in Ukraine, one that has been extraordinarily beneficial to the LGBTQ community.”

“From hundreds of openly queer men and women serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine to President Zelenskyy’s positive statement about civil partnerships and human rights as applied to the community, what Putin has done has allowed freedom to bloom in Ukraine.” 

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ILGA-Europe launches new program for racialized LGBTQ, intersex communities

Deadline to apply is April 2

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Christopher Street Day parade participants in Berlin on July 22, 2022. ILGA-Europe has launched a new program that seeks to bolster work in support of Europe’s racialized LGBTQ and intersex communities. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

ILGA-Europe this week announced a new two part 12-month program focused on the work being done by and for racialized LGBTQ and intersex communities across Europe.

According to the international LGBTQ and intersex advocacy non-profit, the new initiative will be supporting up to 15 organizations’ work on socio-economic justice for racialized LGBTQ and intersex communities through a combination of grants and other resources.

The program has two interconnected components:

  • Financial support for the implementation of a project (up to 20.000 euros per project), AND
  • Learning and networking that will bring grantees together (on-line) on a regular basis to exchange learning, share challenges and solutions, build solidarity and find points for collaboration and inspiration.

The aim of this program is to:

  • Bring together a group of up to 15 European LGBTI organizations/groups across Europe that work on addressing the intersectional impact of socio-economic injustice, racialization, racism and supremacy and specific harms affecting the lives of racialized LGBTI communities across Europe.
  • Support, strengthen and advance their work on socio-economic justice for racialized LGBTI communities through a combination of grants and regular peer-learning/networking meetings.

ILGA-Europe noted that currently, the LGBTQ and intersex movement across Europe operates in an increasingly hostile environment that directly affects the lives of LGBTQ and intersex communities and the work of activists.

This environment is marked by anti-rights opposition, anti-democratic developments, rising unemployment, economic crises, ongoing and brewing geo-political conflicts, deepening structural inequalities, fear-mongering, mounting transphobic and sexist and racist rhetoric and violence.

In a statement, ILGA-Europe said:

“So many organizations and groups have been doing incredible work and contributing to change, while at the same time being historically excluded from funding. By supporting these groups, we also wish to recognize and acknowledge the specialized knowledge and skills involved in addressing intersectionality. This can mean anything from exposing structural oppressions that shape harm; building and sustaining the resilience of racialized communities; developing and applying anti-racist, feminist and alternative approaches; to working through — and in spite of — institutional violence and trauma.

This programme expresses our commitment to continue our engagement with socio-economic justice and to strengthen our work on anti-racism. We see a great value for the wider movement in making the work of the organizations supported, disseminated and visible. We see an opportunity to bring the learning from this program to the wider movement, as we believe that solutions and approaches that include a few will pave the way and point to the solutions for many.”

Key information and details:

In selecting proposals, ILGA-Europe will prioritize projects that:

  • Demonstrate clear understanding of how the intersection of LGBTI identities, socio-economic injustice and racialisation works in their local contexts
  • Present a clear plan for how the envisaged change is going to come about in these contexts
  • Seek to establish practices/tools/solutions that can live beyond the project’s lifetime
  • Have the potential to enhance the movement’s thinking on anti-racism and working towards socio-economic justice in general and for socio-economic justice for racialized LGBTI communities in particular.
  • Respond to the framework, aim, objectives, and areas of work of this call
  • Are implemented by LGBTI-run organisations and initiative groups in Europe that have history and practice of working with and for racialized LGBTI communities

Deadline and timeline:

  • Proposals should be submitted using the attached application form and budget template. The last day to submit your application (deadline) is Sunday, April 2, 2023, 23:59 CEST.
  • We will review applications, decide on projects to be supported and inform all applicants about the results of the review via the e-mail address provided in the application by May 5, 2023.
  • Contracts will be signed with organisations in May 2023. Successful applicants should be available to respond to requests during that period. The project must start June 1 2023.
  • To submit an application or if you have any questions in the preparation of your project proposal, please contact: [email protected]

Questions?

If you have any questions in the preparation of your project proposal please submit them via e-mail to [email protected]

We will answer all of your questions via e-mail and then publish answers on a dedicated ilga-europe.org website page on Feb. 27 and on March 23, in order to share the information among all applicants.

Call for Applications DOWNLOAD

Application Form DOWNLOAD

Budget Template DOWNLOAD

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LGBTQ Holocaust victims remembered on International Holocaust Memorial Day

Up to 15,000 gay men sent to concentration camps

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The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin on July 22, 2022. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Ordinary People is the theme for International Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 as around the globe the day is set aside for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution.

The Nazis targeted anyone they believed threatened their ideal of a “pure Aryan race,” including Roma and Sinti people, disabled people, LGBTQ people, political opponents and others.

In a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania, whose ambassador, Robert S. Gilchrist, is openly gay, a coalition consisting of other nation’s diplomatic missions to the Baltic nation, including Israel, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and the European Commission noted:

“As we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we commemorate the Holocaust of six million Jews, men, women and children, including more than 200,000 Jews murdered in Lithuania. We remember other communities who were also murdered: Roma, disabled persons, LGBTQI+ persons, Slavs and others. We do not forget that the Nazis committed these heinous crimes with the support of local collaborators throughout Europe. And we remember the heroism of countless people who, at great personal risk, stepped in to save thousands of Jews.”

Amy Gutmann, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, tweeted: “Today we remember the horrors of the Holocaust and the six million Jews, and millions of Roma, Sinti, Slavs, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals and political dissidents murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.” Gutmann added: “As my father, a German Jew forced to flee Germany in 1934 said, “Everything we do — and everything we don’t do — makes a difference.”

PinkNewsUK journalist Patrick Kelleher wrote:

“It is thought that up to 50,000 gay men received severe prison sentences under Nazi rule. According to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, most were sent to police prisons, but between 10,000-15,000 were sent to concentration camps.

Life for queer people in Weimar Germany was a very different picture to what it would become under the Nazis.

Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism in Berlin on July 23, 2022 (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

There were gay bars, there was a functioning queer scene — there was even an institute for sexual research, a concept that would be impossible to imagine in most European cities of the day.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, everything changed. In the years that followed, millions of Jews, alongside other minority groups, were rounded up, tortured and murdered in concentration camps, up until 1945.”

David Pressman, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary who arrived in that country with his husband and their two children last fall, also remembered the Holocaust in a tweet:

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