U.S. silent on anti-LGBT attacks in Ukraine

On April 1, 2016 The Washington Blade reported: Recently, Ukraine’s LGBT community attempted to test the country’s new Western path by holding an equality festival in the city of L’viv. The outcome was deplorable: L’viv, which markets itself as the most European city in Ukraine, tried to prevent the festival by taking the organizers to court. When the roughly 70 participants gathered in a hotel, it was surrounded by a mob of 200-300 masked thugs chanting, “Kill, kill, kill,” at which point the attendants were evacuated by police.

Afterward, Misanthropic Division, a neo-Nazi organization, claimed responsibility for showing the “degenerates” who are in charge of L’viv.  The group celebrated by displaying photographs of members giving the Nazi salute on its Facebook page.

LGBT activists have good reason to be pessimistic when confronting persecution in Eastern Europe. The region’s entrenched homophobia, reinforced by decades of Communist dictatorships as well as burgeoning far-right movements, makes it tempting to concentrate equality efforts on more realistic goals. Ukraine, however, is a unique case.

Ever since the 2013-2014 Euromaidan revolution brought a new government to power, Ukraine has aimed to break away fromRussia and join a free and democratic Europe. In recognition of this goal, the U.S. and the EU are providing Kiev with enormous amounts of aid.  For the past two years, Ukraine has been a nation in flux, with a government in close contact with Washington, and a significant percentage of the population ready to adopt Western values.

The road toward embracing these values has been slow. When two men filmed themselves holding hands in Kiev last May, they were quickly assaulted by thugs. Last June, members of Right Sector (another far-right group with neo-fascist leanings) brutally ended a Pride parade in Kiev, injuring police and participants alike. Several LGBT activists told Western journalists that violence against the community has risen after the revolution.

Support from the Kiev government has been patchy at best. Prior to last year’s Kiev Pride parade, Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko publicly stated that the LGBT community had a right to conduct the march — the announcement was a giant, almost unbelievable step for Ukraine. And yet, many lawmakers have either remained silent or issued horrendous statements backing the far right. “Our ancestors would have trampled these people with their horses,” is how one parliament deputy responded when Ukraine was working to pass a simple workplace non-discrimination law in November.

Read more at https://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/04/01/u-s-silent-on-anti-lgbt-attacks-in-ukraine/

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