Ukraine Bill Proposes Prison for Positive Gay Depictions
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — If a group of Ukrainian lawmakers succeeds in its mission, television shows and movies like “Brokeback Mountain” that sympathetically portray gay men and lesbians will be banned. So will gay pride parades.
The recently introduced bill, supported by the president’s representative in Parliament, would impose prison terms of up to five years and unspecified fines for spreading the “propaganda of homosexuality,” which the measure defines as positive depictions of gays in public.
It has prompted outrage from rights organizations in Ukraine and beyond that condemn the bill as a throwback to Soviet times, when homosexuality was a criminal offense. They also warn that the bill could lead to an increase in H.I.V. infections in Ukraine by driving gay people underground.
Although homosexuality was decriminalized in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, and Russia after the fall of communism, animosity toward gay people remains high in both countries. St. Petersburg, which is Russia’s second-largest city, passed a law this year mandating fines of up to $33,000 for “promoting” homosexuality among minors. A gay pride parade in Georgia, another former Soviet republic, ended in a scuffle with opponents in March.
The Ukrainian bill follows a decision in May to cancel the country’s first gay pride parade because organizers feared violence. Two Ukrainian gay rights activists have also been brutally attacked in recent months.