A rave for LGBTQ+ rights is set to take place outside the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv this Friday, 30th July. 

‘Rave Pride’ has been spearheaded by the newly-formed UkrainePride, a nonprofit established after members of KyivPride split to set up a separate organisation.

President Zelensky was elected to office in 2019 and initially welcomed by equality activists, but has since fallen out of favour for failing to clarify his stance on LGBTQ+ rights. His lack of condemnation for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation his party drafted also caused outrage, with many comparing this to nearby Russia’s ‘anti-gay propaganda’ laws, which ban the distribution of materials promoting “non-traditional sexual relationships”. 

“Rave Pride is the real face of the queer community and the youth of Ukraine today,” spokesperson and UkrainePride co-founder, Sofiia Lapina, told the Kyiv Post newspaper. 

A soundsystem and stage will host DJs from 4PM to 10PM local time — including former DJ Mag cover star and NECHTO Records founder Nastia, Katro Zauber, Olha Korovina, Stef Mendesidis, and Gael Abakarova. The event aims to establish a new form of advocacy focused on making noise to highlight endemic problems in the country.

 
 
 
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Previous rallies in the city replicated a Western ‘march’ model, but required police protection for demonstrators as a result of successive homophobic attacks. UkrainePride no longer believes this is the most appropriate approach, having unsuccessfully campaigned to change current laws which do not consider attacks on the LGBTQ+ community to be hate crimes. Instead, perpetrators are likely to be charged with hooliganism, civil liability, or issued with a fine. 

“Advocacy is any action that shines a light on the violations of a person’s rights, and UkrainePride is looking for the most diverse and most creative ways to do that,” said Lapina, who has been the victim of far-right death threats and saw her personal information published and social media accounts hacked. “The word ‘rave’ comes from the word ‘noise’, and I believe the protest needs to be noisy so that people pay attention.”

“At Rave Pride, we are going to play loud music in the middle of the workday at the President’s Office so that the authorities can finally hear us,” Lapina posted to Facebook on 20th July after making the threats she received public. “The same authorities who pretend that nothing is happening, that there are no hate crimes.”