History of LGBT-movement in Ukraine

The LGBT community of Ukraine had been in a certain underground for a long time because of criminal penalty for “sodomy” existed in the Soviet times

History of LGBT-movement in Ukraine

However, abolition of criminal liability for voluntary homosexual act was held on December 12, 1991. The Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR was the first government body in the Soviet space that passed law – Article 122 abolishing criminal liability for voluntary homosexual relations.

The first LGBT organization in Ukraine was Mykolaiv Association LIGA, opened up in 1996 and is still running. Later came Rights Center Nash Svit who moved from Kyiv to Luhansk region and still monitors rights violations of LGBT.

In 1996 magazine One of us appeared a first registered print edition as the official media. The first copy of the LGBT publication was released on December 19, 1996. In previous years, the magazine One of us freely sold in Kiev, regional centers and major cities of Ukraine by subscription. Now the magazine isn’t issued.

On March 15, 1996 the Ministry of Health of Ukraine issued the Order resulted in the document that began to regulate changes (corrections) of sex for the first time in the history of independent Ukraine. The Order was invalidated on the grounds of the Order of the Ministry of Health N 60 of 03.02.2011.

On April 4, 1998 the first in Kiev and Ukraine gay club was opened in the premises of DC "Rostock" (named «Big boy club», since 2002 – under the name of Androgin). The club closed in early 2014.

On April 17th, 2000, the first lesbian organization of Ukraine Women’s Network was registered. Members of the organization arranged flash mobs, summer camps for lesbian, action "Race for Life", actively involved in advocacy for LGBT rights. Today the organization actually ceased to exist.

In October 2001 during Sunny Bunny as part of Kiev International Film Festival Molodist, a selection of films “Another Love” dedicated to the life of the LGBT community was first shown. This LGBT program, later obtained the name "Sunny Bunny", was the second one in the world queer program at the film festival after the famous "Teddy Award" at the Berlin Film Festival.

On March 22, 2005 IRAPM expelled a gay student because he distributed leaflets among groupmates calling to protect the rights of gays and lesbians. The expelled student has filed a lawsuit against the IRAPM. Holosiivskyi Court made the decision in favor of the student, the academy was ordered to pay compensation of 600 UAH (120 USD).

On June 20, 2011 following Russian gay propaganda banning law, bill number 8711 was first registered in the Verkhovna Rada. The authors of the law were six MPs from all parliamentary factions (CPU, OU-PSD, BIUT, Party of Regions), except Litvin Bloc. The amendments envisaged banning production and distribution of products "promoting homosexuality".


May 16-19, 2012 the first Kyiv Pride was cancelled because of a dangerous situation in Kyiv (the threat of right-wing activists).

June 30, 2012, the famous British singer Elton John urged to stop homophobia and persecution of homosexual people in Ukraine during his speech in Kiev as part of the charity campaign aimed at fighting HIV / AIDS.

October 2, 2012 the public campaign against bill 8711, which provided criminal liability for "propaganda of homosexuality", was held. Unfortunately, the same day the bill was passed by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the first reading. The adoption of the law as a whole in the second reading didn’t happen after sharp criticism of homophobic initiatives by international community.


May 25, 2013 the first equality march for the rights of LGBT was held in Kiev. Approximately 50-60 participants of the equality march for the rights of LGBT walked across Victory Avenue near the Dovzhenko Film Studio. Police made 13 administrative protocols to stop attempts to hinder the march for the rights of LGBT people in Kiev.

November 6, 2013 Executive Director of FULCRUM and LGBT activist Bogdan Globa made his coming out from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and became the first openly gay, who spoke in the highest legislative body of the state.

On December 14, 2013 former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stated at the meeting of the government supporters and opponents of Euromaidan (during first month of the Revolution of Dignity) that in order to get visa-free regime with the EU it is necessary to "legalize same-sex marriages and adopt a law on the equality of sexual minorities." Azarov insisted that our society was not ready for this, and, especially, religious organizations of various confessions.


July 4, 2014 the equality march was cancelled due to failure of the police to ensure the safety of participants.

October 29, 2014 the unknown men set fire to the cinema Zhovten during the show of a LGBT film. Later, two guys were recognize as bullies and given a suspended sentence, the court didn’t find them guilty of fire.

In 2014, for the first time during the existence of the Ombudsman the special chapter "Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity" was included into the annual report of 2013.


March 25, 2015 the Cabinet approved a draft of the national strategy on human rights and submitted it to to the President of Ukraine according to the established procedure. The separate section "Overcoming discrimination" was included into the draft of the national strategy.

24 April 2015 the first Ukrainian conferenceof parents having LGBT children was held. The conference was attended by European MP Ulrike Lunachek. In her interview to ukrlive.tv she said that the EU wouldn’t agree to simplify visa regime with Ukraine without the protection of LGBT people from discrimination.

June 5, 2015 President of Ukraine made the historical statement. Mr. Poroshenko assured that he treats the gay pride as a Christian and as a President-European.

June 6, 2015 the equality march took place on Obolonska embankment under close guard by police officers. The march was attacked by radical people.

August 13, 2015, the equality march was banned in Odessa. August 15, 2015 unknown men attacked Queer Home with firecrackers during LGBT conference in Odessa. Nobody got injured.

September 13, 2015 Elton John urged Ukrainians to be tolerant towards LGBT people during the forum of Yalta European Strategy (YES).

October 31, 2015 the PinchukArtCentre opened the LGBT exhibition "Patriots, citizens, and lovers ...", a personal exhibition of artist Carlos Motta. This first exhibition was devoted to LGBT people in Ukraine and available to public for a long time.

October 22, 2015 the first International conference "Gender variance in social and medical context" was held in Kyiv.

November 12, 2015 MPs of Ukraine adopted bill №3442 "On Amendments to the Labor Code of Ukraine (concerning the harmonization of the legislation on preventing and combating discrimination)." It provides for the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Labor Code.

December 29, 2015 Ukraine may adopt same-sex partnership in 2017. The action plan to implement the National Human Rights Strategy until the year 2020 envisages adoption of civil partnerships in Ukraine.

To Be Continued...

By Tymur Levchuk

Follow us
on social media