Editor’s note: Bogdan Globa is a human rights activist focusing on the LGBT rights. He moved from Kyiv to the U.S. at the end of 2016, and currently resides in the New York City. Globa was named as one of the Kyiv Post’s Top 30 Under 30 winners in 2016.
After almost a year of Donald Trump’s presidency, it becomes clear that his hatred-fueling administration has been affecting the attitudes not only in the U.S., but across the world. As liberalism takes a hit globally, the Ukrainian LGBT community is among the groups suffering from it.
Despite the distance between Washington and Kyiv, the U.S. has historically been an influence on Ukraine. Democratic movements in Ukraine have always been supported on Capitol Hill.
There have been ups and downs in the relationship during the 26 years of Ukrainian independence.
During Barack Obama’s presidency, the Executive Office of the President of the United States had little interest in Ukraine. Obama didn’t come to Куiv for an official visit during his two presidential terms. It was believed that developments in Ukraine had to be taken care of by Germany. The U.S. nonetheless was considered by the Ukrainian government as Uncle Sam whose point of view should always be taken into consideration. Ukraine actively supported U.S. policy in exchange for financial aid and technical support.
So even as Obama lacked interest in Ukraine, his agenda was reflected in the actions of Ukraine’s government. Obama’s presidency fostered liberalism, freedom, and consolidation of minority rights, and Ukraine tried to keep the pace with these principles. During his second term, the Ukrainian parliament passed an anti-discrimination law that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the work environment. The government also voted for the National Plan on Human Rights, which involved the governmental obligation to draft a bill on the civil partnership that would enable same-sex couples to become common-law partners.
But the wind blowing from across the Atlantic has changed. And the Donald Trump’s conservative policy was promptly reflected in the actions of the Ukrainian government.
The implementation of the National Plan on Human Rights in Ukraine has been frozen. Although all Human Rights initiatives were submitted within the European Association of Ukraine, the influence of American government on the Ukrainian establishment cannot be minimized: Conservative attitudes in the White House had a direct influence on the state of human rights in Ukraine.
Despite the previous demonstration of gradual and cautious steps towards liberalization in Ukraine, we may now witness a turning point in the policy of Куiv which is directed towards flirtation with right-wing national movements that often abuse human rights.