Around 10:00 pm EST on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to invade the independent country of Ukraine, under the pretext of “demilitarizing and de-nazifying” the democratically elected Ukrainian government. This order was made during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, as countries around the world condemned the Russian government for their acts of aggression up to that point. While the Russian delegation currently holds the administrative role of President for the Council, their representative has blatantly lied to the international community on the actions being taken by their country’s government.
Let us be clear: President Putin has, and continues to be, the aggressor in this situation. Starting with the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea in 2014, a southern land mass belonging to the country of Ukraine, to the recent Russian-backed political advocates of the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donbas being recognized by the Russian Federation as “independent people’s republics.” During these acts of political theater, where Russia claimed to be on a “peacekeeping mission”, the people of Ukraine have remained steadfast in striving for peace even as Russian military forces infringed upon their internationally recognized borders. Now, as Russian forces attempt to destabilize the infrastructure of Ukraine’s military operations, we must show our full support for actions that guarantee the safety and future of the citizens of Ukraine. Do not allow false narratives to stagger our uniting against a singular threat, as Russian propaganda has made its way into our domestic cable and political discourse. This is not a “genius move” nor is President Biden “showing weakness.” The people of Ukraine elected President Zelensky, who is Jewish, and replaced nearly three-fourths of their elected officials in 2019 in an attempt to overhaul and eject corruption in their government. Falling for the false narrative of “de-nazifying” the country is exactly what Putin wants, as is dividing the people of the United States on the involvement level we should have in protecting and supporting a pro-democracy European country.
There are numerous LGBTQ+ issues around equality and equity to fight for in America, but that does not mean we should remain silent on the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ peoples and allies across the globe. As queer people flee the anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments of Russia, and possibly having to seek refuge in conservative leaning European countries, we must stand together, united as a people, a country, and a world, to fight against discrimination, dictators and despots both foreign and domestic.
J. Tyler Beall President