Svyatoslav Sheremet, the leader of Gay Forum Ukraine, believes that Ukraine will have to reconcile itself to ensuring full rights for its LGBT citizens.
Speaking in an interview with the online portal From-UA.com, Sheremet accused Ukrainian parliamentarians of adopting double standards in their approach to defending human rights in Ukraine. Sheremet said he believes that anti-LGBT politicians and activists are ramping up their rhetoric ahead of the European Union Eastern Partnership in Vilnius in November of this year, in an attempt to foment anti-EU sentiment in Ukraine.
Ukraine is among the countries invited to Vilnius to complete talks on closer association with the EU, a move that is opposed by more pro-Russian Ukrainians and their supporters in Moscow. Georgian President Mikheil Sakashvili, speaking to the UN General Assembly in late September, accused Russia of using homophobic bias in former Soviet countries to undermine closer ties with Brussels.
Sheremet: “LGBT issues cannot be removed from the agenda of European integration.”
Nevertheless, Sheremet said he believes EU association will eventually bring positive change for gays and lesbians in Ukraine, saying that full equality for LGBT Ukrainians is a “matter of time,” adding that “the question is not whether the clouds will scatter over our heads, but how fast they will scatter.”
Sheremet was the target of a horrific physical assault by anti-gay activists in May, 2012, an incident which caught international attention after images of the attack were published on international news portals. The activist was attacked by a group of men after a meeting with members of the press to inform them about the cancellation of Kiev’s first gay Pride parade.
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