LCR Pride Foundation’s annual March with Pride will be held jointly with KyivPride, continuing the legacy of Eurovision support, and standing in solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Ukraine.
Liverpool will this year host Kyiv’s annual Pride march on behalf of Ukraine, with the city region’s annual March with Pride held jointly with KyivPride, the LGBT+ organisation of the Ukrainian capital.
Every year, thousands of LGBT+ people and allies from across the Liverpool City Region march in solidarity, protest, and celebration as part of the city’s Pride event. In 2022, more than 15,000 took to the streets turning the city into a sea of rainbows.
Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is currently illegal for groups to stage marches through the city. Continuing the city’s Eurovision legacy and solidarity with Ukraine, LCR Pride Foundation, the Liverpool City Region’s LGBT+ charity is teaming up with KyivPride to march on their behalf in Liverpool, on Saturday 29th July 2023.
Andi Herring (he/him), CEO of the LCR Pride Foundation said: “No matter where you are in the world, LGBT+ people demand the right to live freely and happily. Even in the UK, we are all aware of how easily these rights can be backtracked on or removed entirely, that is why we are proud to share our March with Pride this year with the LGBT+ communities of Ukraine. It is a message of solidarity, of unity and of hope for people here in Liverpool City Region and in Kyiv.”
In 2023 the ‘Rainbow Europe’ ranking of LGBT+ rights and freedoms in Europe saw the United Kingdom drop to 17th and Ukraine 39th. Up until 2015, the UK was consistently ranked the most LGBT+ friendly place in Europe and led the way in terms of rights, protections and freedoms afforded to LGBT+ people. The UK has continued to drop down the list each year and now has a score of just 53.37% in terms of LGBT+ rights, down from 86% in 2015.
KyivPride was established in 2012 and has been working to champion the rights of LGBT+ living in Ukraine, even before the Russian invasion. Their work includes providing a safe space in the capital of Ukraine, where people can work, warm up or make friends, holding weekly online support sessions with LGBT+ friendly practitioners, and providing shelter and temporary accommodation for LGBT+ visiting or in transit in Kyiv, helping the LGBTQI community with food and medications, organising weekly community events, and many other activities.
KyivPride campaigns year-round for full respect for LGBT+ peoples’ human rights in Ukraine, by raising LGBT+ visibility and encouraging their participation in social processes and activities. In addition, it also hosts Ukraine’s largest LGBT+ event KyivPride annually in June.
Lenny Emson, who was a founding member of KyivPride a decade ago and has led the organisation as an Executive Director for the last two years, said: “The russian invasion took our right to march away from us. But international solidarity gives us a chance to keep marching for Ukraine, for LGBTQI rights, for freedom. Last year, Warsaw Pride welcomed KyivPride in the capital of Poland. This year, Liverpool stands up for Ukrainian LGBTQI people.
“We call on all the communities across the United Kingdom and Europe: please, come and support the joint KyivPride and Liverpool March with Pride. Be there, be political, be visible.”
The two organisations have called for LGBT+ people and allies from the Liverpool City Region, and the people of Ukraine who are now part of communities across the region and beyond to join in this collaborative celebratory event.
Councillor Harry Doyle from Liverpool City Council said: “What better way to ensure that the legacy of Eurovision continues, than by using our City’s voice of compassion, passion and solidarity and sharing it with those who are currently prevented from doing so. Liverpool, as ever, stands with the people of Ukraine and will continue to celebrate what unites us.”
March with Pride is a walking march and free to attend for all individuals. Organisations and businesses that wish to take part are asked to make a suggested donation to help LCR Pride Foundation, the regional charity, cover the costs of staging the event.
Registration and more information is available at: www.lcrpride.co.uk/march