Members of local LGBTQ communities and allies marched through the streets of Zaporizhzhia in eastern Ukraine last week, carrying heart-shaped signs painted with the colors of the rainbow and the Ukrainian flag, and a banner emblazoned ForwardToEquality. 100 Meters of Pride was the city’s first-ever pride march, organized by regional advocacy organization Gender Z in celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Gender Z is one of six LGBTQ advocacy organizations in Ukraine for whom NDI organizes training sessions and networking events, and provides technical assistance. Just last June, KyivPride rallied 5,000 people for its Equality March, making it the largest pride march in the entire post-Soviet space. Organizers expect this year's Equality March to double that number. Events like this one provide visibility and affirmation to a population long relegated to the shadows.

Learn more about the work NDI and our partners do in Ukraine:

Photos courtesy of Gender Z.