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On May 14th Montreal had a chance to host a sneak preview of the documentary by a Toronto filmmaker Marusya Bociurkiw called “This Is Gay Propaganda: LGBT Rights and the War in Ukraine” (2015), which focuses on the consequences of Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in modern Ukraine and its occupied regions. The film preview and discussion were co-presented by Cinema Politica, the Concordia University Research Chair in Sexual Representation & in Documentary. They were followed by the discussion with a Ukraine human rights activist Anna Dovgopol who is knowledgable about the current perception of LGBT community in Ukraine. She is also a Gender Democracy Program Coordinator at Heinrich Boell Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, responsible for supporting LGBT/queer, feminist and gender initiatives.
WHy Is It Important?
LGBT people play a big role in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as they are one of the most highly marginalized communities. Marusya looks at their struggles and, often, sufferings to describe the difficulties of the whole nation and what is has to go through during the hard times of war. In the Eastern self-proclaimed “independent regions” of Ukraine, that are partially occupied by Russia, LGBT people are being monitored by the local government and are often forced to flee from their home cities.
It is important to note that Marusya hasn’t visited the occupied regions, as it might not have been possible because of their limited accessibility. The filmmaker has been to “unoccupied” Ukraine, however, and had a chance to drop by a special shelter for LGBT community and to talk to those living there about their painful experiences.
“I decided to fight Media with Media”, – Marusya expressed during the discussion.
“It is confusing for people to know what the good and bad guys are”, – Anna added to that later on.
CKUT was a guest at the discussion and is glad to share with our listeners some valuable information about the history of LGBT Rights, homophobic tendencies and sexuality and general, as it is presented by the activist and people in Ukraine.
The subject is of great importance internationally and especially to the citizens of Ukraine, since it is largely ignored in the country. The remnants of the Soviet Union make it very improbably that any talk on sexuality would be publicly taking place, and virtually no education on human sexuality is given in universities. It is considered deviant to talk to children about sexual education and nontraditional sexual choices. Due to these reasons, Marusya’s film is not only a treasure for activist groups seeking help, but also carries great educational value to Ukrainians who may lack open-mindedness and understanding.
Images Credit: Wikimedia and Kateryna Gordiychuk