And the repression has not decreased since then, quite the opposite. Now that Russia is at war in Ukraine, Belarus is off the agenda. It seems to me that we are now in an invisible zone. The eyes of the world are no longer on the land.
By the way, before 2020 there was an initiative by pro-life and anti-gender activists as well as the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which called for a law similar to that in Russia to be introduced in our country. You have collected 50,000 signatures. Nobody is talking about it anymore at the moment.
The situation is complex because many queer people have left the country or want to leave but cannot. Some are in prison, others have fled to Ukraine. There, her passport is now problematic because the Russian attack is partly carried out from Belarusian territory. They are now fleeing the war there.
The activists had music with them, danced and held posters on the windows. Such actions were always planned and carried out in great secrecy. I was there once as a journalist. Then in 2014 I helped organize a queer festival with workshops, discussions and film screenings.
It is important to me to make it clear that this is not a heteronormative perspective. Maybe that’s exactly what triggered the hatred among people who aren’t used to not finding their own heteronormative point of view reflected in a text.
Because coming back to Belarus is actually a physical experience – you step into another world. I am very grateful to the people who supported me in Kyiv during tough times. I would love to give something back to them. The fact that I can’t do it is extremely painful for me.