Learning the Lessons from the Euromaidan: The ups and downs of LGBT Activism in the Ukrainian public sphere


  • Maryna Shevtsova Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Humboldt University, Germany




European Union, Ukraine, civil society organizations, LGBT, Euromaidan


This paper addresses the growing visibility of LGBT civil society organizations in Ukraine’s political sphere after the Euromaidan. Drawing on the data collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews; participant observations; and an analysis of social media, this study answers this question: How did Ukrainian LGBT groups reshape their political strategies after the Euromaidan? The Euromaidan was an anti-government, citizens’ protest that began in November 2013 in response to the government’s unlawful actions. During it, Ukrainian LGBT activists strategically decided to keep their presence in the protest camp invisible. Though this helped to avoid conflicts, the LGBT movement’s hopes for reforms in sexual minorities’ rights after the Euromaidan remained unfulfilled. This article illuminates how the LGBT activists’ approach to the public sphere in post-Euromaidan Ukraine has changed. It argues that the LGBT movement’s disillusion over the new government’s lack of support triggered a wave of LGBT activism that has resulted in new political strategies. Despite the visible backlash against sexual minorities in 2014–2015, Ukraine’s current turmoil has given the LGBT movement opportunities for political alliances and transnational activism that have seemed to have borne fruit.

Author Biography

Maryna Shevtsova, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Humboldt University

PhD in Political science from the Humboldt University, Berlin. Her doctoral thesis analyzes the processes of Europeanization and promotion of LGBT rights as “European” norms in the EU Neighborhood. She also holds PhD in Economics from Dnepropetrovsk National University, Dnipro, Ukraine and MA in Gender studies from Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. Maryna Shevtsova is an associate at Ukraine Democracy Initiative and Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation (IEAC), Kyiv, Ukraine. Since November 2017, she works as Project Manager at TERGO, LGBT parents’ initiative.


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How to Cite

Shevtsova, M. (2017). Learning the Lessons from the Euromaidan: The ups and downs of LGBT Activism in the Ukrainian public sphere. Kyiv-Mohyla Law and Politics Journal, (3), 157–180. https://doi.org/10.18523/kmlpj120123.2017-3.157-180