Activists in Ukraine’s first gay pride demonstration during the action in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, May 25, 2013. About one hundred gay and lesbian Ukrainians, and those from other countries, took part in the gay pride rally, protected by hundreds of riot police. Antipathy toward homosexuals remains strong in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
AROUND ONE HUNDRED gay rights activists marched in Ukraine on Saturday despite fears of violence and a court ban, marking the first gay pride event in the ex-Soviet country, where homophobia is widespread and generally accepted.
“This can be considered a historic day,” said Elena Semyonova, a representative of the organisers.
Lesbian and gay rights activists, holding rainbow flags and placards, held a brief, 20-minute-long march along a street not far from the centre of the capital Kiev amid a heavy police presence.
Unlike gay pride events in the West, the Kiev march was low-key and did not feature any provocative clothes or LGBT paraphernalia.
The organisers advised participants to wear comfortable clothes and flat shoes that would make their escape easier in case of a sudden attack or scuffle.
“Human rights are my pride,” chanted the activists who included a delegation from Munich as well as gays and lesbians from Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.
“Homosexuality is not an illness” and “LGB rights are human rights” read the slogans they carried.