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Are Assaults on LGBT-People a State Policy in Ukraine?

A new wave of assaults on LGBT activists was launched in Ukraine: first, armed individuals from the far-right organization “Right Sector” attacked the documentary screening on gay community participation in the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014; second, people who openly condemned the discrimination of sexual minorities started receiving threats. These facts made a respected international NGO Amnesty International call for police investigations as to the fact of pressure on public figures supporting LGBT-people.

At face value, one might think that occasional assaults and attacks on LGBT-events are not connected, or that they don’t have anything in common apart from the idea of hatred towards sexual minorities and dissenting voices that stand for freedom of thought and expression.  However, this isn’t the case. The worsening of the situation with assaults on LGBT community in Ukraine could be traced all the way up to Ukrainian government, to its state officials and security services chiefs who represent the state and who are in power at the moment.

 

“Right Sector” organization and Dmytro Yarosh, its founder and ideological leader, is the most active one (among others) in attacking gay, lesbian, and transgendered people. It should not come as surprise though. Yarosh in his book “Ukrainian Revolution: XXI Century” calls for physical destruction of homosexuals.

“There is another anti-Christian instrument in the hands of those who sold their soul to the devil, another “big caliber”, which has been widely used of late. This instrument is sexual perverts, homosexuals who due to a close relationship with leading politicians make their own political careers or exercise an anti-Christian influence on decision-making in legislative and executive branches of power all over the world. And Ukraine is no exception. Active promotion of homosexuality and lesbianism through television and Internet with full support of authorities, organization of the so-called “gay parties” and “gay marches”, openings of pervert night and day clubs, presentations of movies on degenerates – this is not a full list of actions that defy God who ruined Sodom and Gomorrah; and these actions call for all Christians to eradicate this filth by fire and by sword “- says Yarosh at the very beginning of his book.

 

It seems logical then that the organization, together with its ideological leader, who, by the way, also happens to be an MP, seriously believes that gay people “sold their soul to the devil”, calls for “eradicating this filth by fire and by sword”, and refers to physical violence against LGBT activists. What is more surprising, however, is the fact that this organization has close ties with state authorities and is supported by them. It’s not a mere claim since one should know that Volunteer Ukrainian Corpus “Right Sector” has become a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and now Yarosh’s followers are legally armed (this is also true for traumatic weapons), and the organization is now called “military-political movement”. Moreover, Yarosh has close ties that he personally recurrently refers to with the Security Service of Ukraine. The latter is in full control of Petro Poroshenko, who, according to recent information, partially finances “Right Sector”.

 

Thus, the military-political organization with far-right nationalist ideology that openly hunts down the representatives of LGBT community and calls for the necessity “to eradicate filth by fire and by sword” does not only enjoy impunity, but also feels encouraged by Ukrainian state authorities.

 

Current Secretary of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Olexandr Turchynov is an open homophobe. He called homosexuality a “great sin” and declared that

“if a man has normal views, you label him a conservative, but those who use drugs or promote sodomy you label as progressives. All of these are perversions”. These are the views of the man in charge of Ukrainian Army and Defense.

In these circumstances, one can neither expect the protection of constitutional rights of sexual minorities, nor hope for a just punishment for those who abuse these rights with the help of physical violence. Calling for NGOs and Western governments to increase pressure on Ukrainian state authorities and demand to protect human rights regardless of sexual orientation is the only possibility for Ukrainian LGBT community to be heard. Otherwise, our country could irreversibly slide into a terrifying reality of a repressive state suppressing its own people.

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