Hidden in Kiev: The Secret Gay Shelter You Won’t Believe Exists – See Their Flag Now Flying in Taipei!

“From Kyiv to Taipei: The Journey of a Pride Flag and Ukraine’s LGBTQ+ Community’s Fight for Freedom and Rights”

### Celebrating Courage and Diversity: The 20th Anniversary of Taiwan’s Gay Pride and a Symbolic Gesture from Kyiv

October 29th marked a significant milestone in the history of LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy in Taiwan, as the island celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Gay Pride Parade. This year’s parade was not just a vibrant display of hundreds of flowers and the participation of 120,000 marchers; it also featured a poignant symbol of solidarity and resilience that had journeyed through 18 countries, including Poland, the United States, South Africa, and Georgia. A “Kyiv Pride” flag, representing the unwavering spirit of a free and proud Ukraine, made its way to Taipei, carrying the slogans “Defend freedom with all colors” and “Walk with a free and proud Ukraine.”

In the heart of the ongoing conflict, the “Reporter” team ventured into the office of the flag’s owner in Kyiv, uncovering a story of defiance and hope. The core team, operating from a shelter unknown to the public for safety reasons, shared their dual struggle against the aggressions initiated by Russia. Born in the year of Ukraine’s independence, these individuals are not only fighting for their country’s sovereignty but also for the rights and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community within it.

The journey to the shelter was a testament to the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in war-torn Ukraine. Guided through dark, dirty paths and advised to maintain the secrecy of the location, the team met with Kyiv Jul Sirous, the deputy CEO of KyivPride. The shelter, a beacon of hope started by “Kyiv Travel” in May 2022, offers asylum seekers a month of residence, psychological counseling, legal support, and assistance in finding jobs and housing. It stands as a testament to the possibility of a new life away from danger.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, KyivPride has transformed from an organization focused on parades and policy initiatives to a wartime guardian of its community. Utilizing social media platforms, they have communicated with the international public, synchronized information domestically, and launched rescue operations across Europe. Their efforts have garnered support from dozens of organizations worldwide, enabling them to provide direct financial assistance, purchase necessary materials, and even support the military.

The shelter and KyivPride’s activities highlight the broader struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in Ukraine, a country that has made significant strides in the past decade despite its historical ties to the less tolerant Soviet Union. The war has intensified their fight against discrimination and ill will, with the LGBTQ+ community facing both the physical threats of conflict and the societal challenges of acceptance.

The narrative of LGBTQ+ individuals in Ukraine is one of courage and determination. From the stories of LGBTQ+ soldiers joining the military to the social media campaigns showcasing their contributions, the community is fighting on two fronts: for their country and for their right to exist freely and openly within it.

The war has also brought unexpected moments of humanity and solidarity. Despite the threats and challenges, there have been instances of kindness and support that transcend sexual orientation, reminding everyone involved of the fundamental values that unite them as Ukrainians.

The journey of the Kyiv Pride flag to Taipei symbolizes not just the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine but also the global solidarity in the fight for freedom, dignity, and human rights. As Taiwan celebrated its 20th Gay Pride Parade with the inclusion of this powerful symbol, it served as a reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by LGBTQ+ individuals around the world and the importance of standing together in the face of adversity.