Why OutRight Takes Action
On February 24, 2022 OutRight launched a Ukraine Fund because in times of crisis, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgeder and intersex (LGBTIQ) people face high risks. LGBTIQ people are often left behind in humanitarian relief efforts. At best this may be to a lack of cultural competency, and at worst, LGBTIQ people may be intentionally excluded from aid because of systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Put bluntly, in a large-scale emergency, our LGBTIQ communities simply cannot always count on mainstream systems for help. Yet, in crisis, LGBTIQ people too have a basic right to survival, and require food, water, transportation, safe shelter, access to social support, competent medical care, and access to hormone replacement therapy and HIV medication.
As soon as the Russian war on Ukraine began, OutRight’s partner organizations in Ukraine and surrounding countries reached out to us for support. As the invasion worsened, displaced LGBTIQ people began fleeing Kyiv and the eastern part of the country, forced to migrate to rural areas and to the West - including to other EU countries. According to UNHCR, over 10 million Ukrainians have already crossed the borders - a quarter of the total population.
Many who have stayed in Ukraine have been forced to shelter in basements with little or no access to running water, power, heating, medical care, or mobile phone service. OutRight has documented specific challenges facing people with male documents between the ages of 18 to 60 who are not permitted to leave the country and trans and nonbinary people, who may be denied the right to flee and compelled into military service because their identification documents do not match their gender identity or expression.
LGBTIQ organizations in Ukraine and surrounding countries continue to require immediate and sustained financial support to meet the needs of LGBTIQ people turning to them for life-saving help as a result of Russia’s war.
Activists across the region are additionally concerned about protecting the lives and rights of LGBTIQ people, since Russia has a long track record of targeting and persecuting human rights defenders and of state-sponsored homo- and transphobia. In addition, many neighboring countries where refugees from Ukraine are fleeing have seen rising hate toward LGBTIQ people and opposition to advancing rights. LGBTIQ activists report that they fear a growing backlash through Eastern Europe and in Russia that could lead to further backsliding on rights, and threaten the very existence of the LGBTIQ movement in the region.
IIn these articles, you can learn more about the growing crisis for LGBTIQ people in and fleeing Ukraine and how activists are responding: Openly, Them, openDemocracy, Time, and Teen Vogue and Rolling Stone.
OutRight is determined to assist LGBTIQ people remaining in or fleeing Ukraine in their fight to survive this brutality. We are also determined to support the LGBTIQ people and groups in the region who are coming to their aid while facing severe discrimination in their own countries. We know the need is deep and it will continue for months - and even years - to come.
100% of donations to OutRight’s Ukraine Fund are being disbursed directly to local LGBTIQ-serving partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Contributions provide emergency assistance to LGBTIQ people who need safe shelter, food, competent physical and psychological medical care, medication, transportation for those who are fleeing or returning, and other types of humanitarian support. OutRight is also providing operational grants to LGBTIQ-serving groups so that they can keep their doors open and continue to provide services with minimal disruption.
As of August 15, OutRight has distributed USD $1.6 million to 39 local partners in Ukraine and surrounding countries that are delivering humanitarian aid to LGBTIQ people; more than 70% of support has been to LGBTIQ-serving groups located in Ukraine.
Voices of Grantees
OutRight is moved by the global outpouring of support and care for LGBTIQ people in Ukraine and the region. We are also deeply inspired by the strength, courage, resilience, and kindness of LGBTIQ people in Ukraine and surrounding countries that are helping each other survive this horrific situation.
As of August 15, 2022, more than 7,800 people from over 75 countries have contributed to OutRight’s Ukraine Fund, along with partners such as MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewett, Ukraine DAO, Together Rising, Google.org, Choose Love Foundation, GiveOut, Capital Group, RELI3F, SumOfUs, The Giving Block, Looking Out Foundation, Johnson Family Foundation, Grindr 4 Equality, Beamery, Horizons Foundation, Zalando, GoFundMe, PinkNews, Antidote Magazine, DWF Law Foundation, Kendo Brands Kares, WoW Tech, Blackline, Clearway, Triodis, NYLife Foundation, Gitcoin, Elevate Prize Foundation, Endaoment, and countless others.
On behalf of all those that benefit from this generosity, thank you.