LGBT rights in Ukraine

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LGBT rights in Ukraine
Location of  LGBT rights in Ukraine  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of  LGBT rights in Ukraine  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal?Legal since 1991[1]
Gender identity/expressionChange of gender is allowed[2][3]
Military serviceGays and lesbians allowed to serve
Discrimination protectionsNo specific protections for sexual orientation or gender identity (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No recognition of same-sex relationships.
Restrictions:
Same-sex marriage constitutionally banned.
AdoptionSingle gays and lesbians who are citizens of Ukraine are allowed to adopt
 
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LGBT rights in Ukraine
Location of  LGBT rights in Ukraine  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of  LGBT rights in Ukraine  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal?Legal since 1991[1]
Gender identity/expressionChange of gender is allowed[2][3]
Military serviceGays and lesbians allowed to serve
Discrimination protectionsNo specific protections for sexual orientation or gender identity (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No recognition of same-sex relationships.
Restrictions:
Same-sex marriage constitutionally banned.
AdoptionSingle gays and lesbians who are citizens of Ukraine are allowed to adopt

Lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Ukraine may experience different social attitudes and public policies than heterosexual persons or persons who have a more conventional gender identity. Noncommercial, same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private is legal in Ukraine, but prevailing social attitudes are often described as being intolerant of LGBT people and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for any of the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.

Criminal Code[edit]

As part of the Soviet Union, the criminal code banned same-sex sexuality. In 1991 the law was revised so as to better protect the right to privacy. Today, the law only concerns itself with same-sex sexuality activity when it involves prostitution, persons under the legal age of consent or non-voluntary behavior or public conduct that is deemed to be in violation of public decency standards.

Transgenderism was generally associated with homosexuality and thus prohibited. In 1996, the national government revised its laws regarding gender identity to allow for, under medical approval, gender reassignment surgery and new personal identification.

Protections Against Discrimination & Harassment[edit]

Thus while they are not, technically, criminals the law has not been modified to address unfair discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Family & Marriage[edit]

Couples seeking to enter into a civil marriage in Ukraine most be of the opposite gender. No legal recognition exists for same-sex marriage, nor is their any sort of, more limited, recognition for same-sex couples.

Society[edit]

"I knew one 19-year-old guy who accidentally left his laptop lying around his house and his parents saw messages he sent to his boyfriend. For over a year they didn't let him go out of the house to work or study, they just kept him inside for fear of shame. And that's a familiar story in Ukraine."

Stas Mischenko, vice-president of Gay Alliance of Ukraine[4]

Same-sex sexual orientation and transgender identity remain taboo subjects in Ukraine. Most Ukrainians affiliate with a Orthodox or Catholic sect which tend to view homosexuality and non-traditional gender roles as signs of immorality.[5][6] Prior to the May 25, 2013 Kiev pride parade the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Filaret, stated that people supporting LGBT rights would be cursed and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church denounced homosexuality as a sin tantamount to manslaughter.

Beyond the traditional religious teachings, most Ukrainians grew up with little, if any, comprehensive, fact-based public education about human sexuality in general, let alone sexual orientation and gender identity.

As a former Soviet republic, much of what Ukrainians were taught about homosexuality, outside of religious teachings, mirrored what was being promoted in Russia itself. The public discussion, let alone education, regarding sexual matters was prudishly restricted. Gay men were generally depicted as child molesters and sexual predators. Gay women were depicted as being mentally ill or otherwise mentally deficient. These religious and Soviet-era attitudes tend to prevail, even today.[5][7]

Today, there are frequent reports of harassment, even violence directed at LGBT people in Ukraine.[8] Many LGBT people in Ukraine report feeling the need to lie about their true sexual orientation or gender identity in order to avoid being a target for discrimination or violent harassment.[5]

Bias motivated crimes or hate crimes against people who are LGBT are frequently reported on in the international press, and while such violence is not legal in Ukraine, there is a perception by people living in Ukraine and globally that such violence is frequently tolerated by the government.[5][9][10][11] the Ukrainian police hardly ever detained attackers.[5][9]

The prevailing intolerance and threats of violence, pressure many LGBT people to remain in the closet, especially if they are a public figures who feel that their career as a politician or a celebrity would end if people new that they were part of the LGBT community.[12][nb 1]

While prevailing public attitudes are intolerant, the Ukrainian LGBT community has gradually become more visible and more organized politically since 1991. Much of this is still restricted to low-key events in urban cities such as Kiev, but the issue of LGBT rights in Ukraine has publicly debated much more, largely as the result of the actions of right-wing nationalists and social conservatives to classify any positive depictions of LGBT people or LGBT rights as being pornographic.[13]

Once something in Ukraine is defined by the law to be "pornographic", the image, film, television show, song or webpage is much more restricted as to when it can exhibited, seen or heard in public.[13] While such restrictions on pornography are not unique to Ukraine, by having a discriminatory standard put into place as to what constitutes pornography, any support for LGBT-rights, even if not sexually explicit, can only publicly seen or expressly if the entire audience is of a minimum legal age.

One of the major movement in opposition to LGBT-rights is part of the "ex-gay" movement whereby being LGBT is something that can be "cured" through some sort of, typically, religious seminar or program. The largest of these groups in Ukraine is the Love Against Homosexuality, which has the public support of celebrities and members of parliament who believe that LGBT people are "sexual perverts" who need to be cured.[13]

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have complained about an increase of attacks on them in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Eastern Ukraine[14][15] Many volunteers that took in refugees from territory controlled by the Donetsk People's Republic refused to host LGBT people.[15]

Government and politics[edit]

On 12 December 1991 Ukraine became the first post-Soviet country recognized by the UN to decriminalize homosexuality.[16] Homosexual relations between consenting adults (who have reached the age of sixteen years) in private were legalized as part of a post-Soviet reform of the criminal code. Adult sex-change operations have been legal since 1996. Beyond that, the political establishment tends to ignore LGBT issues or uses the public prejudices to generate political support.[17]

Constitutional rights[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

The Constitution of Ukraine bans same-sex marriage.

The National Constitution, approved in 1991, does not explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity. It does contain several clauses affirming basic human rights, including equal rights irrespective of such things as "political, religious and other beliefs" or "other characteristics". Such provisions could be used to advance LGBT rights, but the Ukrainian courts have largely avoided[clarification needed] the subject.

Political parties and politicians[edit]

None of the major or minor political parties have formally come out[clarification needed] in favor of LGBT rights. Most of what has been said, by politicians,[clarification needed] in regards to LGBT rights has been overtly prejudicial and hostile.[18]

In 1999, the former president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, stated that there are more important issues than LGBT rights to discuss in parliament and that homosexuality is caused by a mental illness or the corrupting influence of foreign films.[17]

In 2007, the leader of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights called gay men "perverts" who must be stopped. Other MPs have attempted to restrict the freedom of expression[clarification needed] by labeling LGBT-themed publications as pornographic propaganda.[19]

2012/2013 legislation[edit]

A draft law that would make it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public and in the media and to import, distribution and broadcast of video, photo and audio products that "encourages homosexuality" (with penalties of up to five years in prison and fines for up to 5,000 Ukrainian hryvnia (616 United States dollar[20])) was passed in first reading in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) on 2 October 2012.[9] This law has since then[5][21] yet to pass a second parliamentary reading yet (on 4 October 2012 a second vote was tentatively scheduled for (coming) October 16[16]) and is yet to be signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in order to become a law.[9][22][nb 2] This law was deemed "homophobic" by the LGBT community and human rights organisations and condemned by them, Amnesty International, the European Union and the United Nations.[9] The Venice Commission concluded in June 2013 that the bill[clarification needed] was "incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and international human rights standards".[21]

Early February 2013 Ukraine’s foreign minister Leonid Kozhara stated that a law prohibiting discrimination against gays will be adopted soon.[24] The Verkhovna Rada on 14 May 2013 indefinitely postponed a vote on a bill that would have barred employers from rejecting workers based on their sexual orientation.[25]

Same-sex relationships[edit]

Article 51 of the Constitution specifically defines marriage as a voluntary union between a man and a woman. The court[clarification needed] has not ruled on whether or not this also bans legal recognition of civil unions.[26]

Adoption and family planning[edit]

Single persons who are citizens of Ukraine regardless of sexual orientation are allowed to adopt, but same-sex couples are explicitly banned from adoption (Clause 211 of Family Code of Ukraine).[27][28] Additionally, the adopter must be at least 15 years older than the adopted child, or 18 years older if adopting an adult. The law also mentions that persons "whose interests conflict with the interests of the child" may not be adopters, but whether this provision has ever been applied against gay adopters is unknown.

Additional restrictions are placed on foreign adopters. Only couples married in a registered different-sex marriage are allowed to adopt children from Ukraine[28][29]

However, lesbian couples are given more access to parenting than men, as IVF and assisted insemination treatments are legal.

Health care[edit]

According to the Constitution, health care is the right of every citizen of Ukraine. One of the major health crises in the nation has been the high number of people infected with AIDS–HIV.[30] While much of the prevention effort has been directed at drug addicts and prostitution, recent efforts have been made to develop special programs for the LGBT community.

Discrimination and harassment protections[edit]

In Ukraine, there are no anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation or gender identity and the constitution bans legal recognition of same-sex marriages. The proposed law № 2342 vote (that law would have barred employers from rejecting workers based on their sexual orientation) was indefinitely postponed on a bill 14 May 2013.[25][31] There is a national hate crimes law that could be interpreted as including sexual orientation and gender identity, but that has not been decided by the courts.[32]

LGBT rights movement[edit]

LGBT flag map of Ukraine.svg

In 1998, the first LGBT rights group was created. Our World is a LGBT community center and human rights advocacy organization. In 2008, Ukrainian LGBT rights organizations came together to create a coalition, Union of Gay Organizations of Ukraine.[33]

Pride parades and rallies[edit]

In September 2003, the first, albeit small, public pride parade was held in Kiev.[34]

In May 2008 Ukrainian LGBT groups were prevented from marking the International Day Against Homophobia after a last-minute intervention by authorities who told organisers that due to the likelihood of friction the programme of events would have to be cancelled. Roman Catholics, Christianity of Evangelist belief, Seventh-day Adventists, Eparchy of Christianity and Baptist and the Union of Independent Orthodox churches had asked local authorities to forbid any action by representatives of sexual minorities.[35]

A May 2012 (to be held in Kiev) gay pride was canceled by its participants because they feared for their safety.[10] Two gay rights activists were beaten up and tear gassed by a group of youths after pridegoers were evacuated by police escort.[4][10][36]

An estimated 20 community activists representing several organizations protested outside of the Verkhovna Rada building during the October 2012 vote of an "“anti encouraging homosexuality”" bill.[16]

On 23 May 2013 a Ukrainian court satisfied a petition by Kiev city authorities to ban the holding of any events, other than those envisaged by the program for the celebration of Kiev Day (in the central part of the city); in doing so it de-facto banned the gay pride parade in Kiev that was planned for May 25.[37] Which format[clarification needed] was then changed to "a private event outside the central part of Kyiv".[38] On this day on a narrow pathway near Pushkin Park and Shuliavska metro station,[39] about 50 people gathered and marched.[4][40] Among them at least 10 from the Munich (Germany), including Vice Mayor of Munich Hep Monatzeder, and some from Sweden.[39] They marched under the protection of 1500 policemen, 13 of the about 100 anti-gay (march) protesters were arrested and no physical[nb 3] violence occurred.[4][40][41] After one hour the protesters who took part in the parade were evacuated from the area.[4] In an attempt to avoid revenge attacks they then changed their clothes and switched modes of transport multiple times.[4]

A procession organised by gay rights activists took place in central Kiev on 11 January 2014; admist the Euromaidan-protests.[15]

A 5 July 2014 (to be held in Kiev) gay pride was cancelled after the police failed to guarantee its protection.[42] It would have been a small, closed march several kilometers outside Kiev.[15][43] On 7 July 2014 Mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko had asked to cancel the pride ""I think that currently, when battle actions take place and many people die, holding entertainment events does not match the situation existing. And I am urging all these people not to do this. I think that this will be wrong amid these circumstances".[43] The "battle actions" Klitschko referd to was the post-ceasefire government offensive of the 2014 insurgency in Donbass.[44]

Public opinion[edit]

In a 2007 country-wide survey by the Institute of Sociology, 16.7% disagreed strongly and 17.6% disagreed with the following statement: Gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own life as they wish. Only 30.2% agreed strongly and agreed with the statement. That was the lowest rating of agreed strongly and agreed with the statement of 24 countries investigated.[45]

In a December 2007 survey by Angus Reid Global Monitor,[dubious ] 81.3% of Ukrainians polled said that homosexual relations were "never acceptable", 13% answered "sometimes acceptable" and 5.7% "acceptable".[46] Of all the behaviors listed, homosexuality was viewed as the third worst after shoplifting and drunk driving. Notably, more people view this as never acceptable than viewing adultery (61.5% never, 29.3% sometimes), traffic rule violation (70.2% never, 25.6% sometimes), pollution (73.3% never, 22.4% sometimes), tax evasion (48.5% never, 37.5% sometimes), deception for the sake of profit (48.3% never, 41.6% sometimes), as well as a list of other things including abortion, premarital sex, complaining to authorities about a friend who has stolen something, etc.[clarification needed]

In another Angus Reid Global Monitor survey, this one in June 2007, on a long list of possible social reforms in the country, legalization of gay marriage only received 4.7% of the vote, the lowest by far (the next lowest being light drugs,[clarification needed] at 7.1%).[47]

A December 2010 Gorshenin Institute poll stated that the "Ukrainian attitude to sexual minorities" was "Entirely negative" for 57.5%, "Rather negative" for 14.5%, "Rather positive" for 10% and "Quite positive" for 3%.[36]

Living conditions[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legalYes (since 1991[16])
Equal age of consentYes[48]
Anti-discrimination laws in employment onlyYes[49]
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and servicesYes[49]
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)Yes[49]
Same-sex marriage(s)No[50] (constitutional ban since 1991)
Recognition of same-sex couples as registered partnershipsNo[50]
Step-child adoption by same-sex couplesNo (single persons who are citizens of Ukraine regardless of sexual orientation are allowed to adopt)
Joint adoption by same-sex couplesNo (foreign couples married in a registered different-sex marriage are allowed to adopt children from Ukraine; single persons who are citizens of Ukraine regardless of sexual orientation are allowed to adopt)
Gay men and women allowed to serve openly in the militaryDepends (depends on regional enlistment commission[51])
Right to change legal genderYes (reassignment surgery is only permissible for those over the age of 25 years[52])
Access to IVF for lesbiansYes[citation needed]
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couplesYes (since commercial surrogacy is illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation in various countries embassies might refuse to grant the newborns citizenship and travel documents of the country of the (intended) parent[53])

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Former Minister of Justice Serhiy Holovaty has never denied being a homosexual.[12]
  2. ^ Bills are usually considered by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's Parliament) following the procedure of three readings; the President of Ukraine must sign a law before it can be officially promulgated.[23] The Verkhovna Rada can take the decision on final adoption of the bill after the first or second reading if the bill is considered as such that does not require refinement.[23]
  3. ^ A few religious anti-gay protesters, disguised as press, attempted to rip banners and placards of the paraders.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ottosson, Daniel (May 2008). "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults". International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). p. Page 45. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Gender Recognition Panel, Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom)
  3. ^ Table of gender recognition schemes in countries and territories that have been approved by the Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom) (April 2006)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ukraine's gays fear coming out of the closet , Al Jazeera English (31 May 2013)
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kiev court cancels Ukraine’s first-ever gay pride rally, The Washington Post (23 May 2013)
  6. ^ RRT RESEARCH RESPONSE UKRAINE, Refugee Review Tribunal Australia (10 July 2008)
  7. ^ Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy (Philosophy and Politics), Peter Lang, 2005, ISBN 978-90-5201-252-0 (page 199)
  8. ^ "New Ukraine, Old Homophobia". Thegully.com. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Gays attacked during human rights march, six detained, Kyiv Post (8 December 2012)
  10. ^ a b c Kiev's first Pride marred by threats and violence, Bay Area Reporter (24 May 2012)
  11. ^ Violence in Ukraine, Bay Area Reporter (13 December 2012)
  12. ^ a b Fearing scandal for being different, politicians keep themselves, nation in closet, Kyiv Post (14 October 2010)
  13. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "Ukraine News One: Donetsk gay club attacked by separatists (VIDEO)". Kyiv Post. 10 June 2014. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c d http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/5/despite-a-move-towardeuropelgbtukrainiansfacenewhurdles.html
  16. ^ a b c d Ukraine vote on anti-gay bill sparks outrage, Bay Area Reporter (4 October 2012)
  17. ^ a b PDF[dead link]
  18. ^ "Gay Ukraine News & Reports". Globalgayz.com. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  19. ^ "Gay Ukraine News & Reports". Globalgayz.com. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  20. ^ Convert United States Dollar to Ukraine Hryvnia, The Money Converter (8 December 2012)
  21. ^ a b Venice Commission says Ukrainian bill banning promotion of homosexuality contradicts international standards, Interfax-Ukraine (18 June 2013)
  22. ^ European Voice: Ukraine seeks to revive EU talks, Kyiv Post (7 February 2013)
  23. ^ a b The interns of the Program of Internship at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Central Executive Bodies for 2012-2013 learned the procedure of submission and passage of bills in the Verkhovna Rada, Verkhovna Rada (14 December 2012)
    Ukraine: Energy Policy Review 2006, International Energy Agency, 24 October 2006, ISBN 9264109919 (page 130)
  24. ^ Ukraine to ban discrimination against gays, says foreign minister, Gay Star News (8 February 2013)
  25. ^ a b Ukraine shelves gay rights vote amid protests, Channel NewsAsia (14 May 2013)
  26. ^ "Constitution of Ukraine". Rada.gov.ua. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  27. ^ Austrian couple wins landmark adoption case, Bay Area Reporter (21 February 2013)
  28. ^ a b Family Code of Ukraine (in Ukrainian)
  29. ^ Elton 'cannot adopt in Ukraine', BBC News (14 September 2009)
  30. ^ "Ukraine - Ukraine fights rising HIV/AIDS infection rate". UNICEF. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  31. ^ "Офіційний портал Верховної Ради України" (in ua). W1.c1.rada.gov.ua. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  32. ^ http://www.legislationline.org/topics/country/52/topic/4[dead link]
  33. ^ [2][dead link]
  34. ^ Trembling in Ukraine, The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga’avah (2008)
  35. ^ Stars back gay-bashing campaign for "traditional love" in Ukraine, Pink news (18 November 2008)
  36. ^ a b Ukraine takes aim against 'gay propaganda', BBC News (11 October 2012)
  37. ^ Court bans gay pride parade in Kyiv on May 25, Interfax-Ukraine (23 May 2013)
  38. ^ Equality March to be held as a private event, not in central Kyiv, say organizers, Interfax-Ukraine (24 May 2013)
  39. ^ a b Despite interruptions, Kyiv holds first ever gay pride, Kyiv Post (25 May 2013)
  40. ^ a b Gay-Pride Activists Briefly March In Kyiv, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (25 May 2013)
  41. ^ "Гей парада в Киеве - 2013. Кому это надо?". YouTube. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  42. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-dooley/wheres-ukrainian-far-righ_b_5564680.html
  43. ^ a b http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=11379
  44. ^ Ukraine crisis timeline, BBC News
  45. ^ Evhen Golovakha, Andriy Gorbachyk, Natalia Panina, "Ukraine and Europe: Outcomes of International Comparative Sociological Survey", Kiev, Institute of Sociology of NAS of Ukraine, 2007, ISBN 978-966-02-4352-1, pp. 133–135 in Section: "9. Social discrimination and migration" (pdf)
  46. ^ Ukrainians Decry Shoplifting, Drunk Driving, Angus Reid Global Monitor (18 December 2007)
  47. ^ (06/29/07) (18 June 2007). "Ukrainians Endorse Status Quo on Social Issues". Angus-reid.com. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  48. ^ The No-nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity by Vanessa Baird, New Internationalist, 2007, ISBN 1904456642 (page 139)
  49. ^ a b c "Дискриминация гомосексуалов в Украине запрещена по решению Высшего специализированного суда" (in Russian). 
  50. ^ a b Legal Report: Ukraine, COWI (2010)
  51. ^ [3][dead link]
  52. ^ Integrating Transsexual and Transgendered People (Part 2 of 3), Press for Change (December 1999)
  53. ^ Ukraine Surrogacy Boom Not Risk-Free, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (4 June 2011)

External links[edit]