LGBTQ+ soldiers and military service personnel in the United States are becoming more common in the US military with mixed results on their general level of acceptance.  Since 2011, people in the LGBTQ+ community have been permitted to serve in the military, with the transgender ban lifted in 2021.

The same cannot be said with Ukraine, unfortunately. While the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine has definitely been more visible throughout the years, many are still persecuted for their gender as the society in Ukraine is guided by their defacto state religion practiced by 70-80% of the population, the Eastern Orthodox Church. Tolerance and acceptance for the LGBTQ community have been slow coming as a result of the deeply conservative moral views of this ancient branch of Christianity which traces its roots back to the Eastern Catholic Church of the Roman Empire.

As you may know, military service in Ukraine is compulsory for men. Homosexuals cannot be exempted from military service. Transsexuality in Ukraine is classified as a psychiatric disorder, but sex reassignment surgery is legal for those over 25 years old. In fact, in 2011, the Ukrainians amended their civil code to allow transgender people who have gone under the knife to change their gender to also change their name after a lengthy process. We’re not exactly sure how this affects their military service as one may assume there’s a hodgepodge of legalities that trans people need to undergo, but the Ukrainian Armed Forces do have openly LGBTQ+ servicepeople.

Despite this, LGBTQ+ orientations, as well as transgenders, remain taboo subjects, with Orthodox and Catholic Churches viewing them as “cursed” people and a “sin” that is the same as “manslaughter.”

Ukraine’s Unicorn Soldiers

With this out in the open, it has been reported that a bunch of volunteer fighters have identified as LGBT+ and have been on active duty. Two volunteer fighters, namely Oleksandr Zhygan and Antonina Romanova, a couple, have used a Unicorn insignia while fighting the Russians.