“I am from Western Ukraine. Although there is a high level of family commitment to religion, my family would never be able to classify themselves as such. My family is quite advanced, and does not seek any answer in religion, but seeks the answer only in itself. This is exactly what helps me to reveal myself – I have never been bound by certain religious norms.
My coming out took place in front of my friends at the age of 16, and in front of everyone else a little later. The first difficult thing about my sexual orientation that I still remember was when I told my mother that I liked boys more than girls. She then replied, “Boy, tie it up!” The next day I talked to her and said it was all a search for something new, just temporary games. She answered with understanding: “I will accept you as anyone, just understand that our society is not ready for this yet.” Now my mother fully understands and supports me, now she has sheltered my boyfriend from Kharkiv and his family at home.
It seems to me that changes in her attitude towards LGBT people have been influenced by changes in our society, and in Ukraine as a state that has become increasingly liberal in this matter and has shown that these changes are worthwhile, that everyone has their own freedoms and their ability to love the ones they want.
Now everyone knows, even my father, who my mother told never to tell. I told him about it only six months ago, to which he said: “I accept you as anyone, the main thing is that you are happy in life.”
Regarding acts of aggression against LGBT people, I remember the school days when some boys broke my lip with an elbow. I’m not sure if it was because of the “gay” nature of my presence, if there is one, or if it’s just that the local boys always need to harass someone. But I am sure that several against one is never fair (except in conditions of war, where other rules apply).
I’m openly gay and can say it publicly. Not that I shouted everywhere and said to everyone I was gay. If asked, I spoke openly. It was only after acknowledging to my friends that I began to realize that I was changing their worldview after all the cards were revealed. I’m the same dude they’ve always known and appreciated, and me being a part of the LGBT community doesn’t change anything in our relationship. Such isolated cases help to change the general worldview of LGBT people. It seems to me that this is a certain level of publicity – not activism or propaganda, but simply defending one’s own position and its correct promotion to the masses.
As for my participation in Atlas Weekend Festival, in the summer of 2021, Yura Dvijon wrote to me and asked if I wanted to take part in a social project at the festival. Famous Ukrainian singer Melovin decided to come out by kissing a guy live on stage. I just couldn’t help but take part in this huge step for the Ukrainian LGBT community. It was the perfect case to show that Ukraine is moving in an increasingly liberal direction – the first open LGBT kiss on the stage of Ukraine’s largest music festival. The performance itself and the moment of the coming out showed that Ukraine is ready. In fact, it is ready because the significant changes began to take place in 2014. Again, let me remind you that the further we move away from Russia and closer to the West, to Europe, the more we begin to accept European values of freedom and equality.
About war. On February 24, I was in Sri Lanka. We flew there for a couple of weeks with friends to relax. Our flight back to Kyiv, scheduled for February 21, was first postponed and then canceled due to a full-scale Russian invasion of our territory, my country. The next two weeks on the island turned into hell, because you wake up in the middle of the night, read the latest news, worry about everything that happens at home, communicate with family and friends like crazy, to know that everything is okay. We did not speak any more about the holiday.
Later, in early March, I flew to Poland, the nearest alternative country from which to return. However, most of my friends assured me that I did not need to go to Ukraine yet. Maybe I will be more useful in Warsaw, I thought, and started volunteering there, but later I had the opportunity to come to Berlin with my friends for a week. Now I have been here for a month, without further plans … like most Ukrainians today, probably.
If necessary, I am ready to take up arms. I know it is bold to say this, but it is truly my homeland, and I am ready to give my life for my younger brother, who is 8 years old, and my nephew, who is 7 years old, to live in safety, in a normal situation, in a good country with a bright future. I am ready to give my life for a better destiny in Ukraine, because it took a long time. Over these 30 years it has restored and strengthened its independence.
Although I did not vote for Zelensky (I was not able to vote in the last election at all), I now believe that he is the ideal person who can be proudly awarded the title of President. By his actions he shows how a real Commander-in-Chief should act: to stay in the capital, to protect and strengthen the spirit of Ukrainians, to do everything to protect our state. Yes, I understand that he cannot return Donbas and Crimea now, but it’s impossible right now, in the time of the return of peace, and we already have the support of the world in this goal.”