Russia may be weaponising homophobia, but the war has strengthened Ukraine’s fight for LGBT rights

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03/02/2023

In Kherson, two Russian occupiers used the same insult – “pinks” – when they burst into the hide-out of a lesbian couple. The men then violently raped the two women at gunpoint, according to an account published in a report by Ukraine’s LGBT Human Rights Nash Svit Centre in November. Over the past year, there have been dozens of reports of trans and homophobic attacks carried out by Russian troops in occupied territories. Due to the lack of internet and phone connections, it has been difficult to gain information on the full extent of the brutality. But the stories rights groups and activists have been able to collect from people like Vadim – who lives in occupied Melitopol – indicate the LGBT community has faced increased risks throughout the 12-month war.

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