- June 23, 2014
Post submitted by Yushuang Sun, Global Engagement Intern.
HRC and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)-National hosted two Ukrainian LGBT advocates during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. Bogdan Globa, the first openly gay man to speak in front of a post-Soviet parliament, and his mother, Helen Globa, met with congressional staffers, HRC staff and other civil society organizations to share their work as LGBT advocates and the situation for the community in Ukraine.
According to Bogdan and Helen Globa, the battle for LGBT rights in Ukraine is ongoing. Homophobic attitudes continue to predominate in Ukraine. LGBT individuals often face physical violence, sexual assault, hate motivated crimes and discrimination that their heterosexual counterparts are not subject to. A largely conservative government does not support issues of concern to their LGBT citizens, including legislation that would protect individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite many obstacles, Bogdan and Helen Globa were clear in their purpose to urge American government officials and the international community to call for the Ukrainian government to take action regarding the epidemic of homophobia and transphobia in that country.
The fight for LGBT rights within Ukraine is playing out within a broader geopolitical struggle between Russia and the European Union (EU). Since passing the homosexual propaganda law last summer, Russian authorities have increasingly used anti-LGBT schemes to define the country in opposition to the West. On March 27th, the new Ukrainian government submitted an anti-discrimination law to the parliament as a requirement to proceed with visa liberalization with the European Commission. However, a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace was not included.
Bogdan Globa is the director of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Fulcrum,” an LGBT non-profit based in Kiev that advocates for the rights of LGBT citizens across the country. He is at the center of efforts to promote LGBT inclusion, protections and equality in Ukraine. His mother, Helen Globa, became an LGBT activist after her son, Bogdan, came out as gay. She has been a strong ally to the movement in Ukraine. Both Bogdan and Helen have been working with PFLAG-National to form the Ukrainian version of PFLAG, uniting family and allied voices with the LGBT community.