Can the far right in Ukraine accept LGBTI rights and equality?

Svyatoslav Sheremet, the leader of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, talks to PRIDE Solidarity about the precarious place of LGBTI equality in the Maidan movement

As the Russian Parliament gave authority to President Vladimir Putin to use military action against Ukraine, the country’s LGBTI citizens wondered if the embattled government would respect their equality.

Svyatoslav Sheremet, director of the Gay Forum of Ukraine, sent a release to PRIDE Solidarity, a group that supports LGBTI people in eastern and central Europe.

In the 1 March statement, Sheremet noted ‘from the very beginning of the New Ukrainian Revolution’ LGBTI Ukrainians did not ‘over emphasize’ gay equality during the mass protests.

This was done ‘to prevent provocations and distractions.’ However, now the Right Sector, formed at the start of the Maidan movement, is pushing a homophobic agenda.

According to the Daily Beast, the Right Sector ‘is a confederation of several right and far-right organizations and groups.’ The group’s leader, Dmitro Yarosh, said the following in a video address:

‘We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity.’

In Sheremet’s release Artem Skoropadsky, the Right Sector’s press secretary, allegedly made this statement:

‘We plan to forbid any “propaganda of evil” and what is contrary to the New Testament and the Gospel.’

Sheremet wonders why the Ukrainian right would spend this much energy on an anti-gay agenda as the country faces Russian troops.

‘As for the Right Sector we think that such a furious rejection of Ukrainian LGBT people when the New Ukrainian Revolution is not yet secure, is to switch from meaningful action to meaningless action undermining the Revolution itself,’ the director said.

‘Do they really have nothing else to do,’ he asked.

He noted the Right Sector does not grasp ‘that Ukrainian LGBT people share the most of traditional values of the Ukrainian people and are in no way seeking [a] fight with the churches.’

PRIDE Solidarity’s Clare Dimyon voiced her concerns about what will eventually happen in the country.

‘There is enough to worry about for the average Ukrainian citizen but for all minorities including the Jewish population and Ukrainian LGBT people, the perils of this situation are compounded,’ Dimyon said.

by James Withers
Source – Gay Star News