Ukraine: KyivPride 2014, June 30-July 6

From June 30 to July 6 the International LGBT Forum and Festival KyivPride2014 will take place in Ukraine. It is an annual social, political and cultural event, which is organized this year for the third time.

“Today when Ukraine has faced external aggression, when they try to divide our society by incitement of hatred between different social groups, Ukrainian LGBT community declares inadmissibility of escalation of hatred and xenophobia on any grounds. We stand for peace and tolerance for each other and we encourage all groups in our society to come to an agreement,” says Olena Shevchenko, Co-Chair of the KyivPride2014 Organizing Committee and the leader of the Kyiv LGBT public organisation “Insight”.

“The events of the Revolution of Dignity vividly demonstrated that human rights are not an empty sound for citizens of Ukraine. (…) The blood had been spilled on Maidan so that we all could realize everyone’s right to live, to love, to come together, and to feel safe and protected. Because human rights are above all,“ says human rights defender Nazarii Boiarskyi, Co-Chair of the Coalition against Discrimination in Ukraine (CAD), who was also elected as one of the Co-Chairs of the Pride Organizing Committee.

“We have the same traditional demands for the new government – to ensure actual equality for all people without discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. However, at this moment we need more – consolidation of all healthy forces of the country to counter foreign expansion. We would like our fellow citizens to know that LGBT people stand for united and strong Ukraine, which is building more and more close relationships with European Union. This is our political position,” concludes Taras Karasiichuk, third Co-Chair of the Pride Organizing Committee and the Head of All-Ukrainian Public Organisation “Gay Alliance Ukraine”.

The program of the upcoming Pride week is rich and filled with events directed at the LGBT community. Among them participants will have the chance to take part in educational lectures and trainings, classes on human rights, movie screenings, musical performances of LGBT friendly singers, an exhibition of artefacts related to the history of the LGBT movement, a mobile photo exhibition, Pride parties in night clubs of the capital, debates on what kind of assistance the LGBT movement is able to offer to the new Ukrainian political government today.

The destiny of the Public Equality March hasn’t been decided yet. The press service of the KyivPride2014 reports that the decision on whether to summon the participants up for the street action or not, and if yes – under which slogans, the Pride Organizing Committee will make later, based on the situation in the country and in the city.

KyivPride was founded in 2012. At that time hooligans and radicals, whom the city authorities failed to deal with, blocked the public event. Nevertheless, the last year Equality March within the framework of KyivPride2013 was successfully carried out in the capital city with the participation of distinguished guests. Even though Kyiv city authorities treated this human rights event rather unwelcoming, they managed to correct their mistakes of 2012 and secured the 2013 March with heavy guard protection by special security forces.