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Ukraine church revokes military award to gay soldier for his 'sinful tendencies'

by Will Hobbs
VIKTOR PYLYPENKO.png - Banner image
Viktor Pylypenko

A Ukrainian church has revoked an award granted to a gay soldier, Viktor Pylypenko, honouring his military combat service, citing his "sinful tendencies."

The award was conferred on February 8, 2024, but was rescinded just over two weeks later by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate, claiming ignorance about his sexual orientation.

In a statement on its website, the church expressed gratitude for Pylypenko's military service but asserted disagreement with his "sinful preferences and LGBT agitation."

The church declared the annulment of the award, citing Pylypenko's open promotion of what they deemed a "sinful ideology" and denial of the existence of God.

Pylypenko responded that the church would not have vilified him like this while he was defending his country.

"When our unit was going through one of the most difficult phases of fighting in Donetsk region, where I could have died, Patriarch Filaret would probably not have continued to say such irrational things about me and people like me.

"At that time, many members of our community were killed, wounded, and captured, who fought along the entire front line in various units."

Despite the church's actions, Pylypenko, a member of the 1st Mechanised Battalion of the 72nd Mechanised Brigade of the Ukrainian Army, remains committed to his military service.

He rejoined the military two days after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, stating that the conflict is not just Ukraine's war but also a battle for LGBTQ rights against a tyrannical, homophobic enemy.

Pylypenko, who established the charity LGBT+ Military, has been actively advocating for and supporting LGBTQ soldiers and veterans, helping organise Ukraine's largest Pride parade in 2021.

The 72nd Mechanised Brigade, to which he belongs, has been engaged in intense battles, including the destructive battle of Bakhmut, marking one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 21st century with an estimated 100,000 casualties.

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