EL*C: The Lesbian Company Providing Security In & Available Ukraine | GO Magazine

“are you presently afraid?” Olena Shevchenko requested attendees from the 2nd

EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community (EL*C)

Meeting in Kyiv, in 2019. External, a belligerent crowd of far-right demonstrators, bearing “Homosexuality is actually a Disease” and “We are Against Gays” ads, experimented with break into the hotel that managed the conference. The Ukrainian police fortified the hotel, once the mob hurled pepper jet bombs in to the lobby where individuals were joining.

The summit

was actually sold out; 350 people from 42 countries, spanning from Brazil to Kazakhstan, alongside 80 students and frontrunners from Ukraine. As attendees took their seats and soothed their particular anxious methods – a lot of nonetheless wiping milk on the pepper sprayed sight – the competition taken care of immediately Shevchenko’s concern with a unanimous and unequivocal, “No!”

“it had been an extremely strong time during the summit,” Ilaria Todde, EL*C’s Advocacy Dykerector informs look at the device. “We showed that facing this specific, very strong, really dangerous oppression, we found a unity that was very strong.” The EL*C presents – and it is directed by – lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer females. The asterisk is actually indicative with the organisation’s “broad and comprehensive” reclamation in the term lesbian, Todde describes, keeping in mind that non-binary those who relate solely to the lesbian endeavor are extremely pleasant as well.

2019 ended up being, without a doubt, yet another reality in Ukraine and European countries overall, but EL*C had solidly understood the country’s relevance back then. “We chose to check-out Kyiv that 12 months to offer help and power to our community… really complicated geopolitical situation,” states Todde, making reference to the 2014 Euromaidan protests, Russia’s annexation of Crimea specifically, the

country’s anti-gender movement.

“We realized that lesbians in Ukraine had been having difficulties,” she says. “The anti-gender movement has actually this double impact: on a single side this has a direct willingness to hinder the development of LGBTQI+ liberties, but it’s also a very good backlash on women’s liberties. And of course, lesbians coming to this intersection, we are especially difficult.”

As a “complicated” fraction group, in a tremendously complicated the main world, a person doesn’t need as as well verbose to impress the necessity from the circumstance for lesbians in the area right now.

Shevchenko  – who asked if people were afraid from the 2019 Kyiv discussion – is a respected

Ukrainian LGBTQ+ activist

, a panel member of EL*C, and until the other day, a homeowner of Kyiv. With Russia edging better, she relocated – along side quite a few of her other citizens – to your better area of Lviv, in western Ukraine. Shevchenko features establish a shelter for internally displaced neighborhood members here. People who need to make the journey across the border receive the telephone quantity of some other important people in the EL*C, who have developed two safe houses on the Polish line. Co-Chair Evgenia Giakoumopoulou, Co-Executive Dykerector Dragana Todorovic, and Board associate Helena Vukovic – are typical from the bottom, on neighbouring earth, would love to gather lesbian and queer refugees and provide them to protection. Ever since the start of conflict, obtained aided 61 LBT refugees in addition to their kids; half have been organized in EL*C’s shelters.

“During The secure residences, we could give you the first standard you would need after these types of a complex quest,” says Todde. “Our company is today additionally trying to deliver humanitarian help inside Ukraine, since circumstance is beginning to-be extremely difficult, basic requirements must be fulfilled within these shelters in western Ukraine… so we need to ensure the aid is actually attaining all of them, and Olena.”

When we spoke over the phone, Todde did not pause for breath. She talked with great conviction, consciousness, cleverness and compassion – a reflection in the EL*C by itself. This firecracker activist energy sources are the exact force you might desire inside their corner, at edge of a land in such a moment of despair and disorder.

Todde was in Bulgaria once we spoke, alongside Silvia Casalino, Co-Executive Dykerector of EL*C. The two had simply left Romania. That they had already been hooking up with

Queer Sisterhood Cluj

, that also supplying humanitarian help to LGBTQ+ shelters in Ukraine. Subsequent, these people were off to connect with


in Moldova. “we’re seeing how exactly we can collaborate… the goal of this week would be to actually create strong connections with the region, because we know there is certainly gonna be a huge pressure on this subject place, considering the war, considering the Russian attack.”

Additional afield – and considering into the even more moderate term – EL*C are creating a

Lesbian Internet System

, meeting over 300 availabilities: extra areas, settee bedrooms, and 2nd apartments in just per week. These are generally currently relocating lesbians in The country of spain, Bulgaria, Germany in addition to UK, and now have aided two lesbian people (plus their particular animals) get to the Netherlands, and a lesbian few to Portugal.

After that there’s the long-term advocacy work. “we all know currently that LBT ladies will be confronted with an amount of chance of discrimination and violence, and that is larger than the refugee overall,” says Todde. “So the work is will be very centered on offering individuals with clear, available and correct details, maybe when it comes to same-gender commitment acceptance… legal recognition of sex and identification of parenthood,” she states, noting that landscape and legislation differ significantly across europe.

This is in addition common information: ideas on how to obtain temporary position in host countries, medical and social assistance, work services and housing. Numerous members of the EL*C been employed by with refugees, though some regarding panel users have been refugees on their own. Throughout our discussion, Todde demonstrates the organization’s deep information and concern within small, average and long-lasting strategizing currently of crisis in Europe.

For a number of people, lots of kilometers out, we scroll on in helplessness as refugees fall through the splits of national boundaries (in Ukraine and also in countless other areas worldwide). Let’s remember that fraction teams like lesbians, like our selves, can often fall through further fractures… breaks a large number of cannot actually see.

It’s the perfect time for all of us to put all of our money where in fact the many in need within area tend to be. It is advisable to program the EL*C, a company which has mobilized on and around a war-zone, which they – such as the people they take to secure houses – aren’t alone.

You are able to contribute to the

EL*C’s Lesbians for Refugees Fundraiser

right here
. Contemplate joining the

Lesbian Hosting Network

not to mention,

lez distribute the word

– while the EL*C tirelessly indicate – our society is tiny but mighty.

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