Russia-Ukraine crisis: Concern and fear for LGBT people in Ukraine expressed by Scottish MSPs

Scottish MSPs have expressed “fears and concerns” for LGBT+ people in Ukraine after Russia launched a full-scale invasion.

Thursday, 24th February 2022, 1:18 pm

During a debate on Thursday celebrating LGBT History Month at Parliament on Wednesday, concern was shown for those in the LGBT community in Ukraine.

Labour MSP Paul O’Kane said his thoughts were with those facing the impact of the unfolding situation in Ukraine and that he “fears for the progress of LGBT+ people and their safety”.

It comes as Russian forces have launched a major military assault on Ukraine, with reports of missile strikes and explosions near cities.

Scottish MSPs expressed ‘fears and concerns’ for LGBT+ people in Ukraine as Russia launches ‘full-scale invasion.’ (Photo: May James/SOPA Images/Shutterstock).

This year’s LGBT History Month focuses on the theme “Blurring the Border”.

Michael Marra, a Labour MSP, told the story of Edinburgh-born Harry White, a gay man who wrote a letter to Joseph Stalin in Moscow.

Mr White was a communist who worked in Russia for the Moscow Daily News.

In March 1934, the Soviet Criminal Code was revised to prohibit male homosexuality, with up to five years hard labour as a penalty.

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Ukraine crisis: Russia has launched 'full-scale invasion'

Mr Marra said: "This history matters tonight for the thousands of gay men and women in Kyiv and across Ukraine.

"Vladimir Putin calls on this history, on nationalism, on populism and a poisonous strong man masculinity.

"Putin’s campaign of state-sanctioned violence and intimidation of gay men and women in Russia calls out to a folk memory of communism.”

SNP’s Christina McKelvie described Mr Marra’s telling of the story as eloquent, adding: “It reminds us of the dangerous battles fought for equality and the dangerous battles still to fight when we speak about Russia and the worries about the people in Ukraine.”

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