20 Apr
15:00 - 17:00

Free. Queer. Ukrainian.

History of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Ukraine through art and activism

The symposium is dedicated to the visual history of LGBTQ+ artistic and activist movements in Ukraine. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Ukraine right after the fall of the Soviet empire, in December 1991, in the first months of Ukrainian independence.

The removal of homosexuality from the list of psychiatric illnesses was stated in the ICD-10 Bulletin of the World Health Organization, published in 1992. However, the changes did not become visible immediately. It took more than ten years of activist, educational and cultural work to start a frank dialogue on the rights and lives of queer people in Ukraine.


The last decade has been the pivotal time for queer culture and LGBTQ+ community. The Revolution of Dignity in 2014 made the contemporary democratic society visible internationally. Russian aggression due to losing influence over Ukraine resulted in the occupation of Crimea and the following war. The beginning of the war in 2014 led to the further uprising of civic society in Ukraine; the activists within LGBTQ-community worked hard to make significant progress in legal recognition and social acceptance of Ukrainian queers. 

 Making queer art in Ukraine now is a political statement, sometimes dangerous, directed towards visibility, social critique, and gaining equal rights. During the symposium, we’ll discuss the history of Ukrainian queer art, gender and power relations, activist movements, raves as a form of protest, and queer archives. 


  • Anton Shebetko, artist, researcher
  • Svitlana Symko, director, researcher
  • Maria  Vtorushina, researcher, curator

Movie screenings:

  • The Wonderful Years (2018), director Svitlana Shymko 
  • I Am Michelle (2020), director Olena Siyatovska

The event is free, but registration is necessary.


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