When in November 2013 I first started following the events in Ukraine, I noticed that Maidan supporters were reassuring their reluctant countrymen that no, Eurointegration doesn’t equal gayification. “Look at Georgia,” they said. “They broke off with Moscow, but when local homosexuals tried to stage a Pride Parade in Tbilisi, it was attacked by vigilante patriots”. They were referring to the failed Pride attempt in Georgia’s capitol earlier that year.
A few months later President Yanukovich fled to Russia and a new government was established. That government, lauded in English-language media as “pro-Western”, is ostensibly eager to establish Ukraine’s European credentials. What better way to do it than to show tolerance towards sexual minorities?
Unfortunately for the new Ukrainian leadership, they are ruling a country where attitudes towards gays are not very different from Russia’s. My readers recall that a few years ago the latter caught a lot of grief, deservingly, for it’s anti-gay anti-free speech laws. Putin became quite a bogeyman for both the Left and the Right, and in 2014 The Advocate even made him villain of the year. Not sure why, because, as heinous as the new Russian laws are, they are no match for sharia-sanctioned homophobia.
So, naturally, when the Kiev protests made headlines, the Right sided with the protesters because of Putin’s authoritarian expansion, and the Left sided with the protesters because of Russia’s homophobic sentiment. Lets set aside the small issue of Ukraine’s own history of totalitarianism and look at homophobia.
In June 2013 the country’s first LGBT “Equality March” ended without an incident, but last year’s Pride was canceled out of security considerations. When in October 2014 promoters attempted to show a gay-themed film in Ukrainian capital, the theater, oldest in the city, was set on fire. Perpetrators were never found, but homophobes are naturally suspect.
This year Kiev decided to hold the LGBT parade, albeit to make things interesting Ukrainian military command announced that draft papers will be served to participants during the march. (See my previous post on draft dodging in Ukraine). Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of “far right” Right Sektor, the group instrumental in bringing down Yanukovich little more than a year ago, threatened to call up troupes from Azov Battalion stationed in east Ukraine to prevent Pride Parade from happening. If one has any questions about the nature of that military organization, take a look at one of their pictures below. The flag in the middle reads Azov in Cyrillic. Can’t say I like them holding that NATO flag.
The LGBT march did take place June 6 in a Kiev suburb, a location held in secret until the very start, and it lasted about a half an hour. 300 modestly dressed participants marched 500 meters before being stopped by police when dozens of the Right Sektor men hurled petards. Skirmishes between the Right Sector and residents of the neighborhood also took place. Several policemen were wounded (out of hundreds deployed) and tens of people were arrested. It should be noted that the Kiev police chief is also a Nazi.
Since Ukraine did get the pictures of rainbow flags in Western media outlets, the march can be considered a success.
This brings us to gay flags being flown by US embassies and John Kerry making LGBTBBQ issues a US foreign policy priority. Ukraine today is a moribund state kept together by IMF loans co-signed by the United States, but all they could produce for our viewing pleasure is 30 minutes of a gay pride. Can’t say I’m impressed.
I am very much in favor of gay marriage for ISIS; in fact, I think we should force them to adopt it. Unfortunately, the only places where we have leverage with this issue are the ones who depend on us, and ISIS doesn’t. As for the basketcase called Ukraine, it should really have other priorities.