European lesbian community rallies to support LGBTQ+ families fleeing Ukraine

The EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community (EL*C) have been helping LGBTQ+ families to flee Ukraine but they need your support.

Photograph of the EL*C responding to the crisis in Ukraine. The black and white photograph shows two women with full rucksacks with a dog tied to a lead, another woman with a bicycle with bags.
Image: @EuroLesbianCon

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community (EL*C) have been quick to react with immediate and effective action but they need your support.

The lesbian feminist and intersectional network, EL*C was formed in 2016 to address the multitude of needs surrounding the rights, the visibility and the well-being of lesbians throughout Europe and Central Asia. Their organisation’s remit is wide-reaching but at its heart, it is about supporting and fostering an inclusive and intersectional lesbian community.

Following the appalling news of the Russian invasion, members of the EL*C’s immediately mobilised their pan-European network to help the Lesbian and wider LGBTQ+ community within Ukraine. As they describe, “Without hesitation, we did what lesbians* do best – get sh*t done – and jumped in our cars to drive to the Ukrainian borders”.

They immediately began evacuating LGBTQ+ families and quickly established a 24-hour emergency helpline. Through their network, they have managed to relocate a number of rainbow families with European lesbian hosts.

Since then, the EL*C have continued operating at the borders with Ukraine providing emergency support and housing, as well as supplying essential goods and services. They have also focused on ensuring long-term solutions for refugees through their lesbian hosting network and through coordination with partner NGOs.

The ongoing efforts of the EL*C in Ukraine include:

  • Emergency support at the borders of Ukraine in all neighbouring countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania)
  • Operating a 24/7 emergency helpline
  • Organising pick-ups at the borders and transportation to the safe houses
  • Managing emergency safe housing 
  • Provision of essential goods (food, medicine, hygiene products, clothes, etc)
  • Coordination with NGO partners in neighbouring countries
  • Relocation to countries across Europe, through Lesbian Hosting Network
  • Provision of information and services, including psychological, medical and legal support, help in obtaining other needed services and accessing rights
  • Collecting and organizing delivery of humanitarian aid in Ukraine
  • Providing financial assistance to lesbian* organisations in the neighbouring countries or inside Ukraine

As the group explains, “So far we have been relying on our own human and financial resources, but we will rapidly run out of our reserves, while the needs and demand are increasing.” 

“We need your support to ensure the SUSTAINABILITY of the different actions – in Ukraine, at the borders and beyond.” 

“With every day, we do our utmost to react swiftly and provide adapted solutions to each situation – the lesbian couples, the families with toddlers, the families with grand-parents, folks with their cats, dogs or pet rats, and everybody else that comes to us. “

EL*C have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help fund their efforts in Ukraine. You can donate here. If you would be interested in joining their hosting network, you can fill in the application form here.

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