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