Happy Pride, Friends! It Went As Planned. And It Is Just The Beginning!
On September 13, the first AutoPride in Ukraine took place, and we were the ones who did it. An event unknown before in Kharkiv is a motorcade of more than 20 rainbow cars with 100 people, which moved along one of the city’s central and longest highways – Gagarin Avenue. We managed to draw the attention of the city dwellers to the existence of the LGBT community and to the problem of limiting the rights of LGBT people in Ukraine. Despite the attempt of radical groups to terrify us, thanks to the coordinated work of the police, Autopride took place according to the planned scenario. The AutoPride convoy was accompanied by 6 police cars, and more than 300 law enforcement officers were working in the city at that time to ensure public order.
It should be noted that no one has been punished for the attacks on Pride participants last year. So, on the eve of AutoPride, we made an official statement, talking to the opponents, the authorities, and other Kharkiv residents to refrain from violence against the participants and organizers of Kharkiv Pride and our allies. We have been calling for respect for the right to peaceful gatherings, just as we respect the right to freedom of speech. For the safety of AutoPride, we informed the participants of the route and time of the march only a few days before the event.
It was important for us that this year AutoPride had to be as safe as possible because it is about the visibility of the LGBT+ community both in Kharkiv and in Ukraine in general. We believe that the people of Kharkiv, after seeing us, will become more open, and friendly to diversity and will understand the problems faced by the LGBT community both in daily life and at the legislative level.
We thank all journalists who covered AutoPride in their media and supported our initiative. We hug all our volunteers, who helped to make interventions in the city space for almost two weeks, increase the visibility of LGBT+, and today just celebrated this event with us.
Pride is not only a fight but also a celebration of self-respect and the right to be yourself. We managed to paint the city a bit of a rainbow and at the same time make a serious statement. Because it is important for everyone.