A group of neo-Nazis attacked a gay bar in Ukraine on Tuesday night by breaking windows and yelling “white power” and “death to faggots.”
Warning: This story has details of a homophobic attack on a gay venue and use of anti-gay slurs and might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
The attack was captured on closed circuit cameras outside the bar. The footage that was posted to YouTube by the Kyiv Dispatch showed about 20 men in dark clothes trying to enter the HvLv, a gay bar in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv.
The attack comes only a few weeks after a far-right group on social media said it would begin targeting “drug dens,” which activists say really means LGBTQI establishments.
Twelve men were detained after the attack, and the suspects were alleged to have violated the country’s anti-hooliganism law.
Attacks On Gay Bars On The Rise
Olena Shevchenko, chair of the Ukrainian LGBTQI rights group Insight, said in an interview with The Advocate that attacks on LGBTQI nightclubs in Ukraine was unfortunately a common occurrence.
“I can say that it’s not the only attack on bars in recent years,” Shevchenko said. “They call it safari or raids on perverts, mostly [LGBTQI] people and [those] who looked like [LGBTQI].”
According to the LGBTQI activist, neo-Nazi groups have been hunting gay people for the last two years.
Less than a month ago, HvLv was attacked by more than 100 neo-Nazis, who came to the bar to chant racist and homophobic slurs.
Most Ukrainians Against Homosexuality
Acceptance of LGBTQI people is very low in Ukraine with Pew Research finding that 69% of Ukrainians surveyed believed homosexuality should not be accepted.
Same-sex couples in Ukraine are still not allowed to get married and adopt children. There are still no anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQI people from homophobic attacks like the ones that have occurred at HvLv recently.
Although LGBTQI people still face challenges there has been growing visibility amongst the community, who have been demanding equal rights. In September this year, over 7000 people gathered in Ukraine’s capital city for the annual March for Equality to support the rights of the country’s LGBTQI community.
The community in Ukraine has been organising pride marches for around a decade. Since then Ukraine has passed some progressive laws for LGBTQI people, including an anti-workplace discrimination law in 2015. In the same year Ukrainian parliament also made it easier for trans people to transition.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.