Ukrainian Capital saw thousands march by for its annual gay event. It has been the largest and most peaceful that the country has ever seen. The march gave witness to around 8,000 attendees including Ukrainian politicians who joined the celebration in Kiev. This was an up from the 5,000 that the country saw last year.
However, there was tight security as far-right activists stage a counter-demonstration. Despite a few scuffles, there were only nine arrests before the event.
Dressed in colorful outfits, attendees marched holding banners and signs emblazoned. Some of these with “Human rights = happy country” and “Diversity is beautiful” written boldly across.
Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a former comedian who took office last month, has made clear his intention to promote tolerance in a country where the LGBT community is often under attack. “We desire to convey to a majority of people that LGBT is normality,” Eduard, a 17-year-old tattoo artist, told Reuters news agency.
Last year, 56 members of nationalist groups were under-arrest for aiming to disrupt the march beforehand.
Why is this such a big deal?
People of Ukraine may face legal challenges if they are from the LGBT community. The law states that non-commercial and same-sex activity between consenting adults is perfectly legal.
However, the country and its social attitudes beg to differ. Often describing the people of the nation as intolerant toward the LGBT people. Households that are head by same-sex couples are not eligible for any of the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.
Ukraine was one of the many countries withheld by the Soviet Union. It gained it’s independence in 1991, considerably recently. The Ukrainian LGBT community has with time become more visible and more organized in their political aspects. The community has seen growth with multiple events in Kiev, Odessa, Kharkiv, and Kryvyi.
Due to the strong political outlooks of the people, there have been multiple violent attacks by nationalist groups and cancellation by authorities.
Many of the difficulties are due to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which has a very significant influence on the perception of society. They oppose LGBT events and groups, often in the name of ‘combatting immorality’. They even encourage the use of violence to get rid of the LGBT.
Of course, this further leads to many people in Ukraine reporting the need to lie about their true sexual orientation or gender identity to feel safe in their own country. They believe that if they do this they will not be in the target of discrimination or violent harassment. Several politicians are currently proposing the suppressing of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for LGBT people. This they plan on doing by ‘anti-propaganda laws’
What rights do the LGBT have?
Article 51 of the Constitution specifically and explicitly defines the marriage of two people as man and woman.
There exists no legal recognition for same-sex marriage, not any sort of limit for same-sex couples. In June 2018, the Justice Ministry confirmed that currently “there is no legal grounds” for same-sex marriage and civil partnerships in Ukraine.
Furthermore, single people in Ukraine can adopt regardless of sexual orientation. However, there is a ban on adoption for same-sex couples.
Further read: Pride Events In 2019 – When And Where