UARU
Progress In LGBT Rights In Ukraine Needs To Happen Now Or Never — Masha Gessen
10 June, 2015
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What You Need To Know:

✓ The LGBT rights movement is the frontier of the global fight for human rights. It marks the border between European civilization and non-European civilization
✓ Progress in LGBT rights in Ukraine needs to happen now while society is still transforming, or the window of opportunity will shut down
✓ The Kremlin and the Russian opposition see Ukraine as a mirror for Russia rather than as a separate country
✓ It is immoral and impossible for the West to negotiate with Putin. Continuing to try and deal with people who consistently deal in bad faith is to betray ourselves and to corrupt ourselves

"The statement that’s made at the [Gay] Pride parades is that we’re not ashamed of who we are," American-Russian journalist and author Masha Gessen who is openly gay, told Hromadske. Violence is not part of the tradition and the police should ensure that people are not hurt at a public event.

Gessen attended Kyiv Gay Pride on 6 June, 2015 which was held on the outskirts of the city, largely as a result of pressure on public officials. Though the fact it was held was celebrated as a victory for the LGBT community in Ukraine, the march was attacked by right-wing extremists as a result 5 police officers and 10 LGBT were injured.

The LGBT rights movement, according to her, is the frontier of the global fight for human rights. It marks the border between European civilization and non-European civilization.

According to Gessen, progress in LGBT rights in Ukraine needs to happen now while society is still transforming. "If not now then when. When societies are going through transformation there’s a brief window of opportunity which then shuts down and people go back to life as usual. We saw that happen in Russia and the effects have been disastrous for Russia, and also for Ukraine," Gessen told Hromadske.

Gessen asserted that the Kremlin and the Russian opposition still do not see Ukraine as a separate country which still has democratic mechanisms. The Kremlin is worried about a successful revolution in Ukraine, while the opposition believe that if it is successful it will have a positive effect for them. Both sides rather see Ukraine as a mirror for Russian society.

It is impossible to negotiate with Putin, Gessen told Hromadske, and it is also immoral to do so. "It is corrupting for the West to pretend that engagement is constructive," said Gessen. "We have all dealt with people who consistently deal in bad faith and we know that continuing to try to deal with them and continuing to trust them is to betray ourselves and to corrupt ourselves".

Hromadske International's Nataliya Gumenyuk and Ian Bateson spoke with Masha Gessen on June 7, 2015.