Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Pride Month and Ukraine

Happy Pride Month!  June is LGBT Pride Month in the USA and it honours the 1969 Stonewall riots which is considered the birth of the Gay Rights Movement.  This is when you see the majority of Gay Pride events worldwide.  Although pride events are held outside of June as well.  For example, it is way too hot in Atlanta in June so Atlanta Pride takes place in October, when it is cooler, on the weekend closest to 11 October which is National Coming Out Day.

Due to the war in Ukraine, Kyiv Pride won't take place this year in Kyiv.  Instead, Ukrainians will participate in Pride events in other cities like Riga and Warsaw.  

Here's the legal status for the LGBT community in Ukraine.  When it comes to LGBTQ equality, Ukraine ranks 39th in Europe.  Czechia comes in at 32.

The Criminal Code in the Soviet Union banned same-sex relations.  The law was changed in 1991 following Ukraine's independence.  So now's it not illegal to be gay but there's plenty of prejudice especially coming from the Orthodox Church and LGBTQ people lack many legal rights.

Article 51 of the Ukrainian Constitution defines marriage as voluntary union between a man and a woman so gays have no option for marriage or even any type of civil union.  President Volodymyr Zelensky is looking at civil partnerships but this would require a change to the constitution which can't be done while the country is under martial law.

Aside from not being able to marry, or adopt, gays and lesbians in Ukraine do not have a right to inheritance, hospital visitations or to make medical decisions for an ill partner.  

Discrimination in the workplace was banned in 2015.  

In 2016 the law was changed now allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood.

Being trans is classified as a psychiatric disorder.  

Same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt because of Clause 211 of the Family Code.  This applies to foreign adoptions as well and only married heterosexual couples are allowed to adopt children from Ukraine.

In 2013, Russia passed its "gay propaganda" law and since then hate crimes against the LGBT community have soared.  Gay Ukrainians don't want similar legislation passed in Ukraine if Russia should win the war.

Under Ukrainian law, all able-bodied male citizens, ages 20-27, must server one year in the army or 18 months in the navy.  After serving on active duty, they become part of the inactive reserve and can be called up for mobilisation until they reach age 55 for enlisted or age 60 for officers.  Homosexuality is not a reason for exemption from military service.  So it is mandatory to defend the country but not for the country to provide equal rights to those defending it.

Since same-sex relationships are not legal this impacts the LGBT community that's fighting for Ukraine right now.  Their partners will not be notified if their loved ones are killed while fighting for the country and will not be eligible for any type of survivor benefits.

Some gay soldiers serving in the Ukrainian army display military chevron with a unicorn which has become a symbol for gays and lesbians serving in the military.

Here's a Voice of America video I found out on YouTube that talks about the brave gay men and women fighting in Ukraine.

©Voice of America

Я за Україну. Я за Україною. Слава Україні  Stojím za Ukrajinou!  I stand with Ukraine. 🇺🇦

Update December 2022:  Here's a short France24 video I found about this on YouTube.


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