WE STAND AGAINST ANTI-LGBTQ HATE CRIMES IN UKRAINE

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Hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in Ukraine must be investigated and violators must be prosecuted. Ukrainian government must direct the police to properly categorize and record crimes against LGBTQ people as hate crimes.

On Saturday, November 4th at 2 pm, New Yorkers will gather near Consulate General of Ukraine to protest discrimination, as well as to show support for LGBT community in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Consulate located at 240 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017.
 
The number of attacks against LGBTQ people in Ukraine has been increasing for several years in a row. Victims of crimes often do not report them to the police because police routinely do not investigate cases related to anti-LGBTQ violence.

Earlier this year, Natalia, a lesbian from Kiev, was brutally beaten by a neighbor after he found out that Natalia was a lesbian. Her partner called the police immediately. When they arrived, the police didn’t want to record the fact that the attacker was clearly open about the homophobic motives of his attack.
 
Igor, an openly gay man from Odessa, was attacked several times, and most recently just a few days ago. The first time Igor and his friend were beaten up right on the street in the presence of other people. When police arrived, attackers didn’t try to escape: they were proud of what they did and expected to be supported as “heroes” that “cleaned the city”. The case stayed open for about a year and then police closed it; attackers were never prosecuted. This October, Igor and his boyfriend Serhiy were hunted down near their home. Haters wrote “Death to faggots” on a wall of the couple’s house, and stalked the couple for several days. Last week, when Igor and Serhiy came home later than usual, they were attacked right at the entrance of their house, thrown down on the floor and severely beaten. One of Serhiy’s attackers explained his behavior to the police as “normal” hate towards homosexual people. Serhiy is experiencing severe post-traumatic reactions and is scared to leave his apartment after the last attack. Again, police made no effort to investigate the case and punish the offenders.

Taras Karasiichuk, the founder of the Kyiv Pride, who is an asylum seeker in New York and a RUSA LGBT activist, was hunted and beaten up in the capital of Ukraine after the first attempt to conduct a pride march in 2012.

Gay people in Ukraine live in a situation when every single day they can be beaten up on their dates with someone they met on the Internet. Openly gay people are in danger literally everywhere – on the street, in their buildings, in clubs, bars or during gay social events. Ukrainian police not only fail to prevent hate crimes, they also don’t prosecute crimes based on homophobia and transphobia, and courts give minimal sentences to the offenders. Right wing hooligans joke that it is easy to pay a minimum fine for such an entertainment as gay hunting.Taras
 
Olena Semenova, the deputy chair of the Ukrainian LGBT Association “LIGA” and one of the authors of the Context Analysis of the situation of LGBT people in Ukraine survey, provides the following statistics: “61% of gay people reported discrimination and violation of their rights due to their sexual orientation or gender identity at least once over the past three years. But only 12% of gay people reported assaults motivated by their sexual orientation to the police. Victims consider it useless to seek help from the police. LGBTs in Ukraine suffer in silence”.

We demand justice for LGBTQ people in Ukraine. Violence against LGBTQ people is a hate crime and crimes must be prosecuted. The Ukrainian government must take real steps to protect LGBTQ people and punish perpetrators.

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