Before sending this edition out, I chatted with a passionate western volunteer helping out ukrainians. The person was frustrated how their family wouldn’t understand or share the enthusiasm. And how finding support within ‘the chosen family’ of ukrainians is lifting them up.
As a queer ukrainian, I cannot relate more to the ‘chosen family’ experience. But it is remarkable how it also became part of the anti-colonial solidarity around ukraine. It is not a coincidence, though. i keep telling everyone that it was easier for me to come out as queer than as ukrainian. but after i did both, only then did the queerness of being ukrainian become so apparent.
the resistance of it. the resistance to the attempts to erase your identity, gaslight, dehumanize, exploit, and dominate you.
the survival of it. forging community links at our darkest time, nurturing the sense of collective care and responsibility for each other, and reclaiming the language and culture codes that were used to oppress you.
the love of it. harboring faith and hope despite facing the most unspeakable evil humanity is capable of. dreaming and envisioning a world that is more just. preserving devotion to the idea of equality and freedom and liberty. relentlessly trying to reject hate. not losing your ability to love.
These qualities are not only quintessentially queer but also very anti-colonial.
This week i want to reflect on the colonial nature of homophobia under russian colonial rule, the everyday manifestation of it, and how ukrainian decolonization struggle is fundamentally queer.