Where did homophobia in Ukraine come from?

May 7, 2014

Where did homophobia in Ukraine come from?

Тhe inscription on the picture says: “Only with the faith, labor, love and medicines it is possible to defeat the dreadful disease – homosexuality.”

It fell into my mind to discourse on homophobia in modern Ukraine. Well, it is quite clear issue, but it won’t hurt to cry out for once again.

If to think and analyze just a little, it becomes clear that a source of hostility towards homosexual people in the modern society is ignorance along with the church and near-religious manipulations and finally state policy. All the mentioned above is typical for Ukraine as well.

Oppressive post-Soviet history with a savour of camp culture formed a steady taboo on everything related to sexuality. Especially – to homosexuality. However, it is often a kind of internal homophobia, leading rather to stigma than to outright discrimination. All peoples and societies went and continue to go through this kind of homophobia. It is possible to work with it: increasing the level of awareness, personal example plus the evolution. History knows many cases of partial or full recovery of society from homophobia – as an example can serve a number of European countries.

Millennial canons emerged at the dawn of mankind make the most of today’s religious doctrines insensitive and often even aggressive against homosexual people. Speaking against liberalization of attitudes towards homosexuality religious denominations are trying to slow down the progress of mankind. After all the absence of homophobia is a sign of a free society.

Fortunately or unfortunately but a free society nowadays mostly has philosophical approach towards conservative religious teachings. Speaking against the progress, including fighting with the tolerance towards gay people as one of the signs of an open society, religion, in fact, struggles for its own survival. Though the dialogue with the church is still possible. Despite the apparent firmness of dogmas, even it is capable of changes – all you need is just unite the efforts of civil society and to receive state support.

Deal with the state homophobia is more difficult and easier at the same time. For any government in developing countries, including in Ukraine, it is more convenient to implement homophobic policy, as in this case it is a priori easier to rely on support and understanding from both the general population and the church. Non-homophobic policy is fraught with electoral consequences – it requires political will and support from the civil society. In order to refuse homophobia the authorities should be forced whether by the public pressure, or the pressure from outside. The perfect option is the mutual pressure. A good example of the success of such work can be shown by the “new countries of an old Europe” – Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

“A rooster [offensive reference to gay men in post-USSR countries – remark by GLF Ukraine] is a bird but not a man”

The political pressure from outside is determined by geopolitical priorities of individual countries or national unions. In relation to the homosexuality the world is bipolar: currently we observe the struggle of two basic ideologies – human rights concept and the concept of “traditional family values”. The second one appeared much later and, despite its name, has nothing to do with the family values.

Human rights in no way threaten the rights of families, and even in some way suggest to expand them. The root of opposition is that the western concept based on the human rights compliance leads to a qualitative renewal of society. While it is categorically unacceptable for religious leaders. That is why they started to talk about “spiritual scrapie” and “traditional family values” launching this meme in politics.

In this situation Ukraine didn’t get very lucky: it became an object of implantation of homophobia from the outside. The Russian side uses pressure on its dependent countries also to promote its brainchild – “spiritual scrapie”. And now, when Ukraine continues its struggle for the right to become an European country, it is not difficult to trace the hand of Russia in homophobic propaganda.

“The Stakhanovites for the family values.”

Various groups in the social networks promoting anti-gay slogans nowadays are full of anti-Ukrainian materials. Almost all of them, even those of “Ukrainian origin”, are openly praising an aggressive policy of Russia. Let us remember about homophobic attitudes of pro-Russia “Ukrainian choice” party of Medvedchuk, who supported groupings posing a hazard for LGBT community.

The Russian side in every possible way tries to discredit the European choice of Ukraine by sending messages to the public in order to relate Europe with the pro-gay ideology on an annoyingly regular basis. It hopes to play on homophobic sentiments in the Ukrainian society, which by having decided to give up on its loyalty towards the LGBT people might as well give up on the EU. As they say, anywhere but not into Europe, where the streets are full with gay parades.

“Father, mother – it is good! Pederast – it is very bad!”

There is some logic in it that the European integration would mean for Ukraine the gradual liberalization of attitudes towards the minorities, including gays and lesbians. But the choices are quite limited: either an adequate European community built on the principles of respect and individual value, but with gay parades, or fascistic Russia gradually rolling into totalitarianism. With its total disrespect for LGBT rights.

Any calls for homophobia and rejection of LGBT people right now – is an attempt to destabilize the situation in our country. An aggressive homophobia in the modern Ukraine – is solely external Russian intervention. That is why it is so important whether we would be fooled by the tricks of treacherous neighbor, or we could uphold the European choice of our country by refusing support of homophobic politics and not giving in to any external influences!