On October 11, about 50 people took part in the LGBT performance at Maidan Konstitutsii in Kharkiv.
The meeting was dedicated to the National Coming Out Day founded in the USA and becoming a metaphor for LGBT people’s self-disclosure.
The event, incorporating a concert, had been planned for two weeks on social networks. Kharkiv for Everyone campaign was launched by a number of Kharkiv activists, volunteers, politicians and journalists who published their photos with this slogan as a hashtag to support the rights of LGBT.
However, an hour before the meeting, someone called the police to say that the explosive device had been planted in Historical Museum building, located on the square. Approximately a hundred people were evacuated, bomb disposal experts, investigators and canine units examined the area of 8,000 square meters, but nothing was subsequently found.
After the inspection had been completed, the performance started. The activists displayed the posters saying “Kharkiv for Everyone,” “Love Has Different Faces,” “LGBT Rights are not About Sex. They are about Rights” and started singing together. A number of Kharkiv musicians and bands took part in the concert.
About 250 policemen and the National Guard officers protected the event-goers, there was no public disorder conflicts or fights during the meeting which finished at about 8 p.m. The participants were provided with a bus to get home safely.
Anna Sharygina, one of the action organizers, noted that she was grateful to the police for safeguarding the attendees. However, she pointed out that the need for such strong protection shows that ”the society has not been quite open yet.”
She also specified that the idea of this action arose after the meeting against homophobia was attacked on May 17 this year. That day the LGBT people were supported ardently by the activists and non-LGBT Kharkivites who became indignant about the attack.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Victor V. Vysochin