Homophobia in Ukraine: a post-communist illness.
by Amina_C on February 28, 2013 - 8:39am
An article published by the Human Rights Watch News’ board on February 21, 2013 conclude a serious demand from the European Union to create a EU-Ukraine summit discussion the issue of EU with the Ukrainian community. The idea is backed up by the recent article “The State of the LGBT Community and Homophobia in Ukraine,” published by Tamara Martsenyuk in Mars/April 2012 and the research on post-communist Ukraine article “Theology and religious studies in the postcommunist Ukraine,” written by Lyudmyla Filipovych and Anatoly Kolodny in January 2004 discussing the sociological and political view of Ukraine towards the homophobic environment the country creates.
Many violations of the human rights charter of the EU was violated by the Ukrainian government, targeting the gay and lesbian people, such as unnecessarily violence at the Kiev Pride in 2012. However, the discussion of “homosexual propaganda” bills at the Ukrainian Parliament, such as the ban of homosexual prone Media material, is what plagues the EU. However, to fully understand the problematic, it is important to have an overview of how the country compromise with the LGBT people as well as how the culture of the country impacted these acts of homophobia.
The news article clearly demonstrates “political” subjects as they speak about the intention of the E.U. to create a summit for the homophobic bills in Ukraine. However, the two journals published by Martsenyuk and Filipovych/Kolodny are characterized in the field of sociology, thus the idea of the rights and freedom of humans which relate to political practices as well. Unlike Martsenyuk, Filipovych and Kolodny are describing the present attitude of the Ukrainian openness on religion, since the dominance of a religious-less state in communist era, in order for us to understand the conflict of homophobia described in the news article. They argue that after the independence of the country in 1991, religion was slowly installed back from the people lives, but was shortly adapted by most of the population, which can explains why the population thinks of homosexuality as something “wrong” (3). Martsenyuk back up that idea by saying, in fact according to the Nash Mir Gay and Lesbian Center, Homophobia in Ukraine is growing more homophobic (4), but she explains that tolerance over the LGBT community differs with age, education and geographic demography. She revealed that people between the age of 16 and 29, people who had completed or semi-completed higher education, as well as people living in urban cities were the most tolerant, which can reveal that people born after the communist era were more open to the modern time ideal or normal society of acceptance in diversity and human rights compared to the people who lived before that time (Martsenyuk 4). However, homophobia is increasing among younger generation, and that is also due, according to the author’s research, to how the Ukrainian Media portrays the LGBT community and how Media had a big influence on its younger population (Martsenyuk 4). Now, we can clearly see why such bills, proposed by older generations, are leading towards the concerns of the E.U. on this particular issue. It is not only an issue of education of the people, but also how Media who portrays hate speech and political views on the subject can have its play.
After reviewing the three articles, we can clearly state that homophobic acts in the Ukrainian society comes from the country’s healing from the authoritarian regime-like of the communist era, but the way society sees the LGBT community and the current spread of homophobic speech and such in the Media has its role to blame. Having greater bond with the E.U. can only happen if Ukrainian society adheres to the values of human rights and freedom, but the Ukrainian’s mentality and governmental system need serious change in order for its society to function well with the E.U. and with its people’s right.
Kostenk, N. V. "Information-Culture Styles In Russia And Ukraine." Sociological Research 50.4 (2011): 57-86. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.
Martsenyuk, Tamara. "The State Of The LGBT Community And Homophobia In Ukraine." Problems Of Post-Communism 59.2 (2012): 51-62. Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.
“Ukraine: EU Should Raise LGBT Rights at Summit.” Human Rights Watch News 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.