Meet the gay Ukrainian men willing to go to war for their country.

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03/28/2022

In the weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the devastation of war has descended upon the country. As is typical in warfare, minorities have borne the brunt of the suffering. Specifically, those identifying as part of the LGBTQ community have faced tremendous hardships, including death, in the face of Vladimir Putin’s campaign of terror. But a new narrative is emerging around Ukrainian gay men, who have long fought to achieve acceptance in their homeland. Their narrative is becoming one of bravery, patriotism, and a liberated future. In his social media profiles, Artur, 32, from the Kyiv region, proudly dons his camouflage uniform. He has now worn it, according to him, for “28 days,” since taking on his position in military administration with a focus on logistical coordination of local relief efforts. Artur is also a drag queen who performs under the stage name AuRa. Previously married, he and his ex-wife divorced due to each of them, “both missing something in their lives.” Now, although his parents still hope he will marry a second time, he is out of the closet and supported by his friends and those whom he serves, specifically citing his colleagues’ “calm attitude” towards him as an artist. When asked why he stepped up and joined the battle against the Russian invaders, he responded, “I love my country. Therefore, I decided that I should make every effort to somehow help.”

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