LGBT rights groups in the Ukraine have warned that violence and discrimination against LGBTs in the country is on the rise.
But despite strong support from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and other Western groups, they were forced to cancel the May 20 event on learning that hundreds of anti-gay activists had arrived in Kiev looking for confrontation.
Shortly after the parade was cancelled, Sheremet was first doused with pepper spray, and then kicked in the head, legs and arms by a group of youths wearing surgical mask. They then stomped on his back. A month later, Taras Karasiychuk, another gay parade organizer, sustained a concussion and a fractured jaw when he was attacked by men shouting homophobic insults outside his home.
“The message was clear: ‘don’t come out onto the streets with your gay rights, stay at home or in your clubs,’” Sheremet said.
Footballing authorities were heavily criticized for allowing the Ukraine and Poland to jointly host the Euro 2012 football tournament when both countries have problems with racism and institutionalized homophobia and actively criminalize their LGBT citizens.
Ukraine’s parliament, following the example of city lawmakers in Russia, has also moved to ban so-called “homosexual propaganda” using legislation that could stifle any and all gay rights protest and advocacy.