- A flashy gay protest took place just in 900 feet from the barricades of Kyiv's Independence Square, where civil rights protesters encamped. Participants of this rally were pointing out that they are not a part of any LGBT organization, but rather a grassroots initiative using social media to gather. Protesters with rainbow and EU flags, demanded from Euromaidan movement to accept gay rights struggle as an equal part of the current civil rights uprising in Ukraine.
- A small group of actual LGBT-groups representatives was also presented at the rally. They held signs "No to provocations!" and claimed that this rally not only has nothing in common with Ukrainian gay rights movement, but consists of well-paid actors and confused gays. They named Victor Medvedchuk, a Russian ally and alleged mastermind behind the governmental Euromaidan sabotage as a man behind this staged gay rally. Though LGBT didn't provide me any particular evidence for that.
- The day before the "fake" gay rally in Kyiv, a number of well-established gay rights organizations have released a joint statement denouncing an event as a "manipulative discredit" aimed at the Euromaidan activists.
- LGBT rights activists cite as an example for their theory another similar fake gay-pride, that took place last November in Kyiv and which I also had been reporting on.
"well, that's ugly. what you see here is a fake gay-pride in Kyiv during the #euromaidan rally. These protesters used rainbow flags tied to opposition symbolics to defame a pro-EU crowd as LGBT-supporters. Yeah, exactly. A "gay-supporter" is still a dirty word in #Ukraine"
- This time a fake gay rally didn't last too long. After an hour, all its participants entered a comfortable bus and took off.
- They refused to give a ride to some eager local journalists.
- A fake "gay rally" is another sign of harsh reality that many LGBT Ukrainians have to live with despite the biggest civil rights uprising in the history of the country. With a similar to Russian "gay propaganda" law pending in parliament and many opposition leaders afraid to speak out for gay rights, a rainbow LGBT-flag unanimously is considered as a "provocation" sign in both Euromaidan and pro-government Antimaidan camps. A wave of recent violence against gay people in Ukraine, inspired by growing homophobia in neighboring Russia, doesn't help either in encouraging local gay community to fight for their civil rights. So while global LGBT movement celebrates 2013 as one of its most successful year in history, gay Ukrainians are left behind this party. Citing strong homophobia sentiments in Ukrainian society, local LGBT leaders decided to support civil rights movement of Euromaidan, but unfortunately totally anonymously without erecting any rainbow or LGBT flags at the site of main protest in Kyiv. Here's what Bohdan Globa, a well-know local LGBT-activists said following Saturday's fake gay rally:
"Last year, following a very deep discussion, a majority of LGBT activists have decided to fully support and participate in Euromaidan, because European values are close to our values and goals. But, at the same time, we decided not to use our rainbow flags in joining the protest, not to demand a special attention to us and to publicly demonstrate our concerns. We use Ukrainian and EU flags instead"
A 2013 GFK Ukraine study showed staggering 80% of those polled had negative attitudes towards gays. That's at least 8% more than pollsters saw last year, which is probably the result of rising extreme homophobia in neighboring Russia. In another 2013 poll by "Gay Alliance" NGO and the State Sociology Institute 63 % of surveyed Ukrainians said homosexuality is a perversion or mental disease, only 9% supported same-sex marriages. The growing far-right sentiments among Ukrainians are also play role in sinking tolerance towards gays. For example, one of the main driving force behind Euromaidan, far-right "Svoboda" has an open and aggressive homophobic stance against any gay rights legislation. That's also partially a reason why these days there's so little contact between Ukrainian LGBT-civil rights groups and Euromaidan civil rights movement, which both you'd expect to fit perfectly. Here's what Zoryan Kis from Amnesty International Ukraine told me following the recent fake gay rally in Kyiv.
- In the end, Euromaidan activists, mainly from far-right groups, didn't allow a fake gay rally to enter the barricaded territory of Euromaidan in Kyiv.
- Some minor brawls even happened. Though Euromaidan protesters say they have nothing in common with a man, tried to attack the participants of this march. No injured people were spotted though.
- And when everybody thought that we'll never hear anything from participants of this weird gay performance, on Sunday local journalist have received the following press-release:
"On January 11th the participants of gay-march in downtown Kyiv were brutally beaten by Euromaidan activists. These gay-activists tried to join a pro-EU demonstrations, but instead of tolerance, they've faced a brutal physical violence. We call press-conference this Monday to demand from Ukrainian authorities to punish all responsible. A Skype-call for journalists with injured activists is planned"
- What the what?