LGBTQ+ Rights in Ukraine

LGBTQ+ Rights in Ukraine

Jun 18, 2022

It's Pride Month, so it feels like the right time to talk about it. picture of an emblem for the LGBTQ+ battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces who currently fight as equals with the rest of their fellow citizens for the same values.

Let's admit the obvious first: LGBTQ+ community is struggling here. Ukraine does not recognize same-sex marriage, there is quite a lot of homophobia in general society. Here are some statistics from Wikipedia:

Link. And a Link for LGBT rights in Russia just to compare.

We've been holding Pride parades since 2015. We've tried to organize them since 2012, but for the first three years police could not provide proper security for people so they've been canceled. In Odesa, a few years ago they had to announce the false time and location of the parade to avoid the backlash of the homophobic morons. I know it's been similar in other cities, too. Police had to hold special operations to detain anti-Pride activists planning to disrupt the parades a day or two before the parade took place.

As usual, I can only speak about my own experience, and not being a member of LGBT I am not the best person to speak about it, since I haven't had to face homophobia personally, but here we go. I remember how when I was little I asked my mom what does "gay" mean, and she told me that it's when boys like other boys better than girls. Not the best explanation on part of my mom, but for me it was an "Oh, okay" moment until I grew up a bit and figured out what she actually meant by "like" and I still did not have a problem with it because it was never presented as one to me. I don't have homophobic people of any age or gender in my social circle, and maybe it's because I just got lucky like that or maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to subtle discrimination around me and I need to do better. But those are my observations so far. I am glad my friends feel comfortable and safe coming out to me, and I am doing my best to listen to them when they talk about their experiences. However, if I need to do better, I will.

I do know of some public figures who are openly homophobic, but I also see them getting a lot of shit for it. Because, you know, in Ukraine you can yell your opinions at politicians and public figures and not face any consequences apart from said politicians yelling back at you. (unlike Russia where you can't just stand quietly in a city square with no signs or anything). I can see the people online who try to use "gay" as a slur, and I see people replying with "Are you expecting me to be insulted by this word?" regardless of whether the person replying is straight or not.

We have a long way to go. But we're trying.

Recently I've seen more and more posts saying that all of the above is enough of a reason to cease support of Ukraine. Basically "Ukraine does not allow gay marriage so let them all die" (I am exaggerating, but that's how it sounds to me). So I brought to you the words of a gay Ukrainian person, and I'll just let him speak for himself on the subject:

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