Liverpool will host Kyiv’s annual Pride march this year on behalf of Ukraine, with the city’s own march being held jointly with Ukrainian organisers KyivPride.

It is currently illegal to stage marches in Kyiv due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with this year’s event having solidarity and unity at its core.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after Liverpool hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which organisers said gave a “massive boost” to the city’s LGBTQ+ scene.

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.”

“It is a message of solidarity, of unity and of hope”

The march will be free to attend, with organisations and businesses that want to get involved urged to donate to the LCR Pride Foundation, the area’s regional charity, to cover the costs of holding the event.

“No matter where you are in the world, LGBT+ people demand the right to live freely and happily,” Andi Herring, CEO of the LCR Pride Foundation, said. “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.”

LCR Pride Foundation was established in 2019 with the aim of making the Liverpool City Region the most welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

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Since its inception in 2012, KyivPride has been working to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine.

Its work includes providing safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people, holding online support sessions and providing shelter and temporary accommodation to members of the community who need it, among other things.

Registration and more information for this year’s march, which takes place on 29 July, can be found here.