🇺🇦🏳️🌈@ALDEParty adopted the Resolution “Supporting Introduction of Civil Partnerships in Ukraine”, in which it supports the initiative of @GolosZmin and @sluganarodu_pp parties to submit the bill on civil partnerships and hopes for its prompt adoption by the @ua_parliament. pic.twitter.com/saLjLw8LYC
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) May 28, 2023
This is the first international statement of this level calling for the adoption of a draft law on civil partnerships, but certainly not the last.
This issue is extremely important to Ukraine’s partners. They will support the adoption of this bill in every possible way.
— Inna Sovsun (@InnaSovsun) May 28, 2023
So the country is invaded, and we’re supposed to believe this is some kind of big problem, but the first thing this bitch does is draw up a law to force people to have anal sex with men?
The Ukrainian MP Andrii Kozhemiakin is a wiry, conservative ex-spy who likes to emphasise his Christian faith and large family. He is also an unlikely new recruit in the fight for LGBT rights in Ukraine.
A draft civil union law that would give same-sex partnerships legal status for the first time was introduced this year to Ukraine’s parliament, which is still functioning despite the war.
Kozhemiakin’s committee was the first to debate it and the team behind the legislation were bracing for defeat; they had even prepared a statement. He started with a script they recognised, talking about his Soviet-era KGB training, his religious beliefs and his “personal opinion about LGBT people”.
And then he announced his wholehearted support for the legislation, referencing Vladimir Putin’s homophobic claim that there are no gay Russians.
“Anything that our enemy hates … I will support,” Kozhemiakin said. “If it will never exist in Russia, it should exist and be supported here, to show them and signal to them that we are different. This law is like a smile towards Europe and a middle finger to Russia. So I support it.”
Inna Sovsun, the MP who drafted the law and is now trying to shepherd it through parliament, said Kozhemiakin’s speech was “the most unexpected thing in my political career”.
She would prefer allies who embrace the moral argument for equal marriage, but faces an uphill struggle to get the law passed, and that day showed “there are people who can support the bill for different reasons”.
She began working on the legislation soon after Moscow sent its troops across the border; the war made the fight for LGBT rights even more urgent when Ukrainians were dying for their country.
Her team were fundraising for equipment to support a gay friend who had enlisted in the military, when they realised that her position in parliament meant she could support him in other ways.
With the law, they aimed to show him – and all LGBT soldiers fighting for Ukraine – that the country he is willing to die for is one “that respects him for his values and who he is”, she said.
Ukraine has made huge progress on LGBT rights, but homophobia is still rife, gay soldiers are often badly bullied even on the frontlines, and the constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
It cannot be altered when the country is at war, a legal bind that the government of Volodymyr Zelenskiy has used to deflect calls for equal rights for the soldiers fighting and dying to protect it.
“We need to pass this law during the wartime, to make our soldiers in the battlefield feel more confident,” said Maksym Potapovych, of the campaign group LGBT Military, which shares photos and stories of gay fighters. “But also, so that when they return to civil life, they know that while they were fighting for us in the trenches, we were fighting [for them] here.”
Civil unions would mean financial support and official recognition for partners of soldiers who are killed, and the right to make medical decisions if their loved ones are injured. Those are not abstract concerns.
Many gay Ukrainians are not out to their families, or have been rejected by them. If they are legally single when they are killed, those relatives have the right to take important decisions. Some fear their partners might be banned from their funeral, or not even notified of their death.
Over the last decade as Ukrainian activists strengthened democracy and the country embraced European values, attitudes to gay rights have shifted fast.
A recent survey found that 58% of Ukrainians felt positive or neutral towards their LGBT compatriots. Although that is low compared with acceptance in the UK and other western European countries, it represents a significant and rapid improvement.
“In 2016 that figure was only around 30%, so we doubled [acceptance] in five or six years, something that other [LGBT] pride movements have achieved in 10 or 20 years,” Potapovych said. An overwhelming majority of Ukrainians – more than 80% – supported gay soldiers serving in the military.
Like Sovsun, he sees that as partly a reflection of his country’s desire to bolster its identity as a European democracy. “Maybe our government or people don’t strongly want to [back equal rights], but they have to support our rights. It affects our standing before our European partners, we really want to show that Ukraine is a democratic country.”
Don’t get it twisted: this war is about gay anal.
What the hell else would it even be about?
Controlling the Donbass?
NOW THOUSANDS LGBTQ+ PEOPLE IN UKRAINE ARE FIGHTING — AGAINST RUSSIA AND AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA! 🇺🇦🏳️🌈👊🏾
I created the project «Voices of Ukrainian queers» to convey to the world the words that we all want to say. And to be heard.
Stand with us!#lgbtukraine #nafo #uaqeers pic.twitter.com/9G7lqVqVA1
— VOICES OF UA QUEERS 🇺🇦🏳️🌈 (@ukrainianqueers) May 29, 2023
Priorities indicated: the flags of Latvia, Riga, the EU, Ukraine and LGBT fly over the Riga City Hall.
I KNEW IT! 😉 pic.twitter.com/3lwFgQefwq
— ANNA LINNA II (@AnnaAnnalinna) June 3, 2023
This is the first hot war of World War Anus.