New Ukraine, Old Homophobia
Will anything change now?
By Tomek Kitlinski
JAN. 28, 2005. The orange banners and buntings are just beginning to fade from Kiev's Independence Square, where President Viktor Yushchenko was sworn in last Sunday after a tumultuous two-month public drama of mass demonstrations, epic electoral fraud, dioxin poisoning, and echoes of the Cold War.
A year before the courageous "orange revolution" demonstrators swarmed over Independence Square, inadvertently turning it into a feel-good site for CNN, Fox News and the Iraq-mired Bush administration, a less edifying spectacle had taken place there. A mob attacked the Gay Pride parade on September 21, 2003, wielding placards with "Deviants Get Out of Ukraine" and "Homiki are the cause of AIDS." Homiki, or "hamsters" is Ukraine's favorite zoological slur for gays. The ugly scene, one re-enacted all over the former Soviet empire in the past few years as queers have begun asserting themselves, was not televised.