Despite its reformist agenda, Ukraine’s government shows little commitment to LGBT+ rights

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11/17/2021

In September, thousands of people marched peacefully through the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in the city’s now annual LGBT+ pride parade – a victory of sorts given that previous parades have not always been so peaceful. In 2015, 10 people were injured when they were attacked by homophobic protesters in Kyiv, while in 2020 Odesa Pride was attacked by a nationalist group. This year in Odesa, clashes broke out between Ukrainian police and a far-right group trying to disrupt the pride march. Ukraine’s LGBT+ community has nevertheless been organising pride parades for some years now, particularly since the country – on paper at least – began increasing support for LGBT+ rights in 2014. That year, in which then-President Petro Poroshenko concluded an Association Agreement with the European Union, laws to ban discrimination against LGBT+ people in the workplace were adopted, signalling a small but important change in official policy. Since then, however, Ukraine has seen little further progress on key issues such as the legal status of same-sex partnerships, with some people arguing that the trend is now heading in the other direction, leading to a reduction in state support for the LGBT+ community.

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