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LGBTQ Ukrainian refugee couple accepted by Alberta host

When the war began in Ukraine, Yevhenia Vasylkova and Kristina Hulyanych made a very difficult decision to leave the family.

"At first we were running away from fear. I felt it was right, but sometimes I didn't meet my family and friends and wondered if this was the right choice." Said Vasylkova, Kyiv's graphic designer.

She said she didn't want to leave Ukraine because her sister has a husband she wasn't allowed to leave.

"It's a difficult decision for people to leave because you have a life there, people have a career and a family," Vasilkova said. "It's hard to get away, especially if you know you're far from your family."

Read more: Calgary Volunteers worry about housing as Ukrainian refugees find housing in homeless shelters

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Their choice to come to Canada was about security, economy, and acceptance.

"Many people have lost their jobs. That was one of the big things. I wanted to go where at least one person was working," Vasylkova said. “I also wanted to find an LGBTQ friendly country. Canada is one of the most popular countries.”

The young couple paid attention to finding a host family. They contacted the LGBTQ + organization. The organization has approached a payment center that contacts Hillhurst United Church in Calgary, known for its value for inclusiveness.

"That's why we wanted to go through the organization," Vasylkova said. "I was worried that not everyone would welcome us as a couple, so I wanted to make sure I found the right person to be okay with us and my dog."

"That was a great concern," added Anne Yates-Laberge, Managing Director of Hillhurst United Church. "Lesbian families and dogs that came in. It's sometimes really difficult when there are people on different pages with what they think of as a family structure.

" Hillhurst values ​​are accepted We were approached by the Newcomer Center because they knew it was. ”

Read more: Calgary Church's new pride flag celebrates inclusion, expression

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Longtime members of the Church Lynn and Angelo Darsin picked up a new Ukrainian guest at Calgary Airport over the long weekend of May.

"We watch the news every morning," said Lin from Airdrie's house. "I felt a little soft and cried every morning when I saw the Ukrainian news. When I decided to do this, I stopped crying and thought it was right."

As the four adult children of the Airdrieonian couple left home, they said they had space.

"This is our lifelong experience of meeting these girls and we are very grateful for it," Lynn said. "They are beautiful souls and we love to put them in our house. I believe they are very brave to do this. This is difficult."

Host couples Angelo and Lynne Dalcin, and Ukrainian guests Kristina Hulyanych and Yevhenia Vasylkova. Global News

Many Ukrainians have fled to Poland and Hungary, but these countries have the rights of LGBTQ + people. I am limiting. In Ukraine, homosexual couples cannot get married or adopted.

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Russia officially banned same-sex marriage two years ago.

Vasylkova said Ukraine still has a long way to go, but is making progress in accepting LGBTQ people.

Read more: 'We are different, but we are equal': LGBTQ + rights, Ukraine for security Thousands gathered at

"Canada is one of the most progressive countries in the world regarding LGBTQ rights, and I don't think Ukraine is the most progressive country," Vasylkova said. Says. "Now we have a pride parade and so on, so it's changing, but Canada is taking this process further."

Vasylkova and her partner both host We describe it as "perfect."

"We are very lucky," she said. "I didn't know what I wanted, but this is the best situation.

" They are very open to our experience and our being together and ours Very kind to dogs. "

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