Affirmation Meets with LGBTQIA+ Activists from Ukraine
On February 16, 2022, Affirmation met with LGBTQIA+ activists from Ukraine. The meeting was a part of the US Congress Open World exchange program and was sponsored by the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy.
Affirmation President Nathan Kitchen, former Vice President Rebecca Solen, board member Melissa Malcolm-King, and board secretary Samuel Tew met with activists Ms. Anastasiia Medko (head of the board for Fulcrum in Kyiv), Ms. Anastasiia Popova (project assistant for Sphere in Kharkiv), and Mr. Oleksaandr Vytvitskyi (deputy director for Gender Z in Zaporizhzhya).
We discussed strategies and challenges of working in and with conservative religious communities regarding issues of LGBTQIA+ inclusivity. The conversation touched on various topics, including the unique circumstances of queer individuals in and adjacent to the LDS Church, the influence of religious culture and practice on LGBTQIA+ matters in Ukraine, and how to reach more queer individuals in need of support through in-person connections and social media. We also made contacts to help network with queer Latter-day Saints in Ukraine and eastern Europe more broadly.
We greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with these wonderful Ukrainians engaged in the vital work of making safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals. As of our last contact with our new friends, they are safe amidst the ongoing conflict. Affirmation stands with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues in Ukraine and denounces the violence and war instigated by Russia. LGBTQIA+ people in Ukraine are especially at risk from Russian aggression. They are a vulnerable population in the face of violently anti-queer stances of the invading country. Our hearts and prayers are with our queer siblings in Ukraine.