Hidden Camera: How People React to Seeing Gays in Kyiv
Last week the creators of ChebuRussia TV published a video that documented how people in Moscow reacted to two young men walking around the city holding hands. The video has more than eight million views by now. This experiment was widely discussed in Ukraine as well, and some speculated on whether the reaction to a similar couple in, say, Kyiv would be different. Bird In Flight decided to see for themselves and filmed Zoryan and Tymur walking in crowded public spaces.
We can see that most of the people have a neutral opinion, they show no particular interest. This proves that the confrontation is between the two minorities. The only problem is that one of the minorities is excessively aggressive. I think that law enforcement should start the so called ‘safari’ on aggressors, because the latter are discriminating against Ukrainians, popularizing violence and are making it clear with their actions and statements that law enforcement is insignificant to them and the aggression will remain unpunished.
There is a form of medical treatment called provocation. It is impossible to cure some infections unless you let them take you over and prove themselves. Provocation is exactly what Bird In Flight did when they invited us to participate in their social experiment. To me, being homophobic is also a kind of illness. A healthy person who is confident with their heterosexuality would not attack a gay person, no matter how provocative a gay person acts.
Of course, in real life Tymur and I (and we’ve been together for almost 4 years) never sit on each other’s lap, and we don’t even hold hands. We don’t feel the need for it. When we were walking around Kyiv like this for an hour, we did not notice any openly aggressive reactions. Most people who even paid attention to us simply could not believe what they were seeing. We decided to act a bit more provocatively: I sat on a bench on Khreshchatyk Street, and Tymur sat on my lap. Of course, we were ready for everything, especially after our March for Equality experience.
It didn’t take long for the homophobes to come. Well, you can see it all in the video. It is interesting that the percentage of these guys in our society is similar to the percentage of gays if not smaller – 3-5%. The others don’t care, and even if they do, they will never resort to violence. We are not trying to impose anything on people or change the world to fit us. We only want to have our rights as the citizens of this country wholly fulfilled and we want to contribute to its development, while not being afraid of discrimination and violence.