Those Tempered at Daybreak: LGBTQ+ eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine

Eye Sea Gallery

Eye Sea Gallery, in partnership with the NGO “Gay Alliance Ukraine,” presents the exhibition “Those Tempered at Daybreak: LGBTQ+ eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine.” It is on display in our art space “Sur.”

Russia’s attack triggered a war that has not been seen in Europe since the Second World War. The ideas of human rights and collective security: what the modern understanding of justice and equality is based on, have been challenged. Ukrainians united to defend their homeland, and amidst the fighting, losses, and deaths, everything else faded into the background. Any nation that is forced to defend its existence will face the consequences of war. It brings not only crippled lives and destroyed cities. It also brings radicalization of society and increased pressure on vulnerable groups of people. Social exclusion based on sexual orientation or gender identity is still present in Ukraine.

The advocacy campaign by Gay Alliance Ukraine, which includes collecting stories, holding an exhibition, publishing a book, and recording an audiobook, “Those Tempered at Daybreak: LGBTQ+ eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine,” is our response to the challenges of war. 

The campaign is an opportunity for LGBTQ+ people to share their unique experience, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, common to many Ukrainians in southern Ukraine. To speak out loud about their experiences, fears, and hopes, about their identity as a group member, even in situations where some of them were left alone in the face of disaster.

“Those tempered at daybreak: LGBTQ+ eyewitness reports of the war in Ukraine” is the title chosen to draw attention to the event that divided the lives of millions of Ukrainians around the world into “before” and “after” – the dawn of February 24, 2022. The dawn after which we changed, becoming hardened. The dawn after which we lost so much forever.

You can read and listen to direct speech of project participants on the project website.

The exhibition was first presented at the Odessa Art Museum in late 2023.

It is on display in art space “Sur” from April 18 till May 5, 2024.

Gay Alliance Ukraine is an all-Ukrainian non-government organization founded in 2009. Its main areas of work include improving the situation with respect for LGBTQIA+ human rights by the state and the general population of Ukraine and achieving positive changes in society’s attitude towards LGBTQIA+.