Florida Gay Couple Opens Their Home to Ukrainians Fleeing the War

Gay Couple hosts Ukrainian Refugees

Jim and Robbie, a well known gay activists in Wilton Manors, have welcomed into their home a young lesbian woman and her mother from Ukraine.

Dasha Shareiko, 21, and her mother, Vita Dagaeva, 52, managed to escape Kyiv a day after the war had started, by driving to the Romanian border, with a route that they previously took as an adventurous road trip. “A couple of hours after we reached the Romanian border, after we had just crossed the bridge, our military blew it up,” Dasha told South Florida Gay News. 

“Watching everything that’s happening in Ukraine, it broke our hearts,” said Jim. “We felt we wanted to do something. Even though refugee status hadn’t been given to Ukrainians, I felt maybe there were some who were stuck here and couldn’t go home. Like, they were traveling on a tourist visa and found out their town was invaded and couldn’t go home.”

 Jim joined a Facebook group called North America for Ukraine, where he posted about offering help. Dasha has contacted him in a private message shortly after. The couple revealed to the Ukrainian woman that they were gay and it wasn’t an issue for her. “When people are bombing you, you have other issues to think about,” Jim noted.

Later they have learned that Dasha was lesbian, and is out to her family and friends back in Ukraine.

“I have an ex-girlfriend. She lives in St. Petersburg [Russia]. No one had questions about it. Nobody cared. It wasn’t positive, it wasn’t negative, it was just neutral,” said Dasha.

“We do have Pride parades,” she said. “Several years ago, there was a lot of drama. There were police involved, not like here. They were not participating in the parade. They were trying to hold back those on the other side of the conflict — those against Pride.” 

The easiest way for the Ukrainian refugees was to go on a plain to Miami from Istanbul. So they drove through Romania to Bulgaria and then to Turkey. “We couldn’t leave our car in Turkey, so we drove it back to Bulgaria, some random place, some small village, God knows where. We took a bus back to Istanbul,” Dasha says. 

There, they bought two plane tickets from Istanbul to Miami, where 10 days after they fled Kyiv, the Moons would meet them. 

Vita, a professional cook, and Dasha, a writer and casino game designer, are officially in the United States on tourist visas and unable to work. They are helping pay back the Moons by cooking and caring for their three-bedroom home.  Jim and Robbie Moon have set up a GoFundMe to raise money for Dasha and Vita’s expenses in America. So far, about $8,000 has been raised.