EU dumps gays, says Ukraine can have visa-free travel without “non-negotiable” LGBT non-discrim guarantee

The European Union has reportedly, yet again, dropped its “non-negotiable” demand that a country adopt laws protecting its gay and trans citizens from discrimination, as a pre-requisite to visa free travel within the EU — this time, in Ukraine.

While Ukraine will move forward with passing the necessary non-discrimination law covering race and religion, gays and trans people (“sexual minorities”) have been dropped from the list of demands by the European Commission, according to reports coming from Ukraine today.

(UPDATE: The EU is denying the report. But I suspect that the Ukrainians let slip the truth, and the EU is now doing damage control over the obvious repercussions of staking out a decidedly anti-human-rights position in the middle of a major human rights crisis.)

Interestingly, part of the reason the EU demands such legislation is that it doesn’t want a flood of refugees when it adopts visa-free travel with a region that oppresses its own people.

But Ukraine is still a homophobic country – a Ukrainian TV star was a recent victim of Russia’s brutal anti-gay neo-Nazi kidnapping gangs that operate in Ukraine as well – where the parliament is considering an anti-gay “propaganda” law like that passed law year in Russia, so the LGBT refugees may be on the horizon.

Ukraine rainbow via Shutterstock

Ukraine rainbow via Shutterstock

What’s also interesting is that Ukraine is facing a backlash among many in the US and Europe on the basis of the Ukrainian government, and the country’s grassroots Maidan protest, being too cozy with the far-right, which some call neo-Nazis.

So what does the Ukrainian government do?  They start refusing to recognize the human rights of their own citizens at the same time they’re asking the US and  Europe to help them fight the Russian human rights abuses of their own citizens.

Perhaps the Ukrainian government should explain to gay and trans Europeans and Americans exactly why our countries should risk getting into a conflict with Russia over a country that refuses to respect even the basic human rights of its own citizens?

Who needs the Russians to abuse the human rights of Ukrainians when you’ve got the Ukrainian government and the EU doing their dirty work for them.

It’s really rather amazing.  The EU helped usher in an invasion from Russia (by attempting to establish closer ties with Ukraine, and thus provoking Russia – not that I think Russia’s ire is justified), and did little in response.

Russia is about to invade eastern Ukraine as a result, and likely annex even more Ukraine in the near future, and the EU does little in response.

And now the EU gives in, not for the first time, on a non-negotiable “human rights” demand, while making other non-negotiable human rights demands about race and religion, truly non-negotiable.

In other words, according to the European Union and the European Commission, some human rights are more equal than others.  Isn’t that the Russians’ point as well?

People often ask why the US is always assuming the role of the “world’s policeman.”  Perhaps it’s because the rest of the world’s policemen, especially the European ones, are always off having coffee and beignets.

At least the good news is that Europe may soon be welcoming 4 million LGBT refugees from Ukraine.  Good luck with that, Brussels.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Bam

    I’ve been watching a lot of Russian videos lately and trying to understand this whole thing. As bad as our fundies are here, in comparison to the average Russian they might as well be human rights activists. The more I learn about Russians the more they’re beginning to look like an entire country of Westboro Baptists. I know there are exceptions, but bigotry is rampant and not only accepted, it’s treated like a virtue by many. Imagine neo-Nazis kidnapping young gay boys and torturing and humiliating them and pouring urine on their head. Then they call their parents to out them and the parents tell the kidnappers go ahead and beat them. After all that, the boys get handed over to the cops who arrest the VICTIM for pedophilia. And then this is broadcast as tv reality/comedy show which the whole country thinks is just great.

    I could never in my wildest dreams imagine that scenario being allowed in the US and the public thinking it’s okay. So after finding out how things are in Russia I’m starting to appreciate our situation. It seems a consensus of Americans have come to the conclusion that the constitution is the final word on these rights and that they must be uniformly granted to everyone without exception. We also have a history of valuing the ideal of individual liberty. Most Americans, even homophobes, can only stomach so much cruelty and unfairness before there’s a backlash. Rooting for the underdog is a part of our culture.

    But the main difference is that the U.S. is not a healthy environment for nationalism to thrive. Extreme and violent bigotry isn’t socially acceptable here anymore. Our neo-Nazis only have power as a prison gang. Outside of that they are pretty isolated from society and when they do pop up they are met by crowds so large that it is they that need protecting, not the rest of us. The situation appears to be in reverse in Russia. I’m shocked by the constant anger and free flow of racial slurs and broad acceptance of homophobia there. Nationalism is the driving force behind it and the Russian Orthodox Church has become it’s enthusiastic partner. There’s no “hate the sin, love the sinner” in their brand of Christianity. It’s more like gays are pedos and must be beaten. The Putin regime has successfully turned those two groups into their political thought crimes force. And when it goes too far, he’ll jump in and act like the voice of reason. They’ve perfected the art of propaganda into a fine art after decades of experimenting. And I never hear anyone even questioning that, instead they think the propaganda is the West trying to turn the nation into perversion through LGBT agents. haha, it’s just hard to stomach the depth of the insanity over there.

  • mereside

    Would you prefer dealing with Nazi/right wing christians?

  • Quick Atom

    Ha,I was googling for “sad cat photo” but ended here.

    I’m from Kyiv, Ukraine. As I know, EU agreed with our government not to provide sexual minorities in a separate category, but to protect the rights of all people equally, regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    Don’t panic.

  • Chance

    Just like the Bulgarians and Romanians flooded in on January 1, 2014? Oh wait, they didn’t. Immigration to Britain from those countries has not risen one iota above general(ly low) trends, despite apocalyptic warnings from the Daily Mail and right-wing press. This EU immigration fear-mongering is all xenophobic bullshit. And let us not forget that the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, etc. are all EU states too. Anti-EU immigrant regulations hit a lot more people than those whom you irrationally fear. I’m a reasonably affluent Westerner, and by god, would I not want to live or invest in the United Kingdom. A spirit of petty small-mindedness is weighing heavy on a great island.

  • caphillprof

    Actually George Bush was told of the chatter and ignored it.

  • 2patricius2

    Quite true.

  • kurtsteinbach

    I say this with a heavy heart…. However, Europe tosses LGBT people to the winds of chance. I’ve heard this tune before. Didn’t the nations of Europe by and large do the same thing to the Jews in the 1930s? Not just religious Jews, but fully assimilated Jews, as well. This is an old refrain. The Ukrainians did the same thing back after Germany invaded them in 1941. The massacre at the Ravine, Babi Yar might ring a bell. The Ukrainians did the same as many European nations. It is when times are tough and you are facing invasion, hunger, pain, and suffering that who you are comes out. The Jews, the gays, and the Roma or Gypsies have long been targets in Christian Europe, among other places. Political and Economic expediency often makes for unwilling martyrs. Will it happen again? Will the past be the prologue? Is what came before the foreshadow of what is to happen again? If you are not LGBT, you must make a choice between what is right and ethical and what is easy. Last time, my people, the Jews did not have a choice, and I don’t see as I’ve got a choice this time either. I will not go there. I may not be a target, yet, this time, but I will not stand by, and just as my brave brothers and sisters took a stand at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and held off the mightiest Army in the World for over six weeks, so once again we will fight back if necessary, when the time comes. They did not “Go gentle into that good night,” and if the LGBT community is willing to stand up to them, so am I. Resistance is never futile and fighting back is its own statement that history and humanity will long remember. I for one, intend to make sure the world is reminded of Europe’s shame when many collaborated with the Fascists. Hopefully, reminding the world of how it stood-by last time will galvanize enough people into action to avoid a large-scale slaughter this time. I am certain that President Obama and American leaders will not want the asterisk that FDR has, that of doing too little too late with the result being enough blood on everyone’s hands to mark that generation for all time. Until the fighting starts, I will resist with every peaceful means I can muster, but once the fighting starts, we will stand together….

  • kurtsteinbach

    There is a word for what you are suggesting, it is called, Tokenism. It does not solve anything.

  • Stev84

    As if the US would have reacted any differently if it had closer economic ties to Russia. Don’t fool yourself. Just look at the human rights abuses the US always tolerated in Saudi Arabia for example. Criticizing the EU while implying that the US would have done the right thing is nothing but blind, naive and ignorant nationalism.

  • frogview

    does this include other minorities like Jews and Muslims?

  • Olterigo

    Is it any surprise after Party of the Regions and the Communist Party have been claiming for months that the accession agreement requires introducing marriage equality in Ukraine?

  • Olterigo

    He is honest, because he is an average person watching TV everyday. I sometimes engage in arguments with people who really believe that incest is legal in Norway. A couple of years ago there was a scandal involving a Russian mother trying to take her child out of Norway after her relationship with child’s father went south. As a result, she lost physical custody and was only allowed meetings in the presence of a social worker. She was all over Russian TV telling people about how incest is legal, if not mandatory, in Norway. And this is what these people have been hearing for 5-7 years on an almost daily basis. Is it then any surprise that when they read/hear from people like Regnerus and Lively, they really think that Europe and US are suffering under “homosexual fascism.”

  • Olterigo

    If only we laid down with Stalin-cheering anti-LGBT Putin… Oh wait!

  • Olterigo

    You’re forgetting that every party in Ukraine cooperated on anti-gay bills. Including the “non-fascist” (formerly pro-Russian) Party of the Regions and Communists.

  • 4th Turning

    Like the rich, they long ago mastered the art of getting others to do
    the dirty work. (and not in a good Tom Sawyer way, either)

  • mereside

    Watch Obama walk both sides of this line.

  • mereside

    With the neo-nazis dictating LGBT policy to the EU, maybe it’s time to rethink your position as to who these thugs really are.

  • mvrs768

    No one in western Europe outside the unelected EU (Eurosoviet Union) politicians want Ukraine in EU. That would mean Ukrainians come flooding west to undercut local workers and to aid corporations in driving down wages (this is the central idea behind the EU: cheaper labor for corporations).

  • 4th Turning

    Didn’t know what svoboda meant-could’ve been an alcoholic beverage for all I knew.

    The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” (Ukrainian: Всеукраїнське об’єднання «Свобода», Vseukrayinske obyednannia “Svoboda”), translated as Freedom, is a Ukrainian nationalist political party,[2] and currently one of the five major parties of the country.[9] Five members of the party hold positions in Ukraine’s government.
    The party was founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Соціал-національна партія України) and acts as a populist proponent of nationalism and anti-communism. It is positioned on the right of the Ukrainian political spectrum,[10][2][11][12][13] and has been described by some scholars as far-right.[14][4][15][16]

    It might ought to hire the ad agency pimping natural gas in this country.

  • mvrs768

    Except that in western countries they don’t go around roaming the countryside murdering people who do not share their beliefs to the same degree that those in the Middle East or tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan do. Maybe they’d love to, but they do not.

    For what it’s worth, I despise christianity and islam equally, as the late George Carlin said, its all bullshit and its bad for ya.

  • 4th Turning

    Pretty sure that’s in one of their airborne constitutions floating around just now.
    Definitely included in the new crimean republic’s.

  • mvrs768

    Yanukovich is corrupt and enriched himself! He must go!

    Yulia Tymoshenko totally did not enrich herself and was not corrupt! She must replace him!

    The hypocrisy of the ‘west’ summed up in two sentences.

    Well, maybe they dropped the commitment at the behest of the radican neo-nazist Svoboda party, one of the key ‘allies’ who helped provoke the authorities in order to get them to crack down and then useing that as a pretext for a ‘revolution’ (paid for by the IMF/World Bank/State Dept/EU).

  • jomicur

    It’s weird, and more than a bit frightening, how quickly left-leaning governments and organizations are willing to drop their commitment to LGBT equality the instant it becomes inconvenient. I can’t think of one other non-negotiable principle that gets negotiated away quite so quickly.

  • UncleBucky

    Hm, so that Ukrainian LGBT people are only worth 3/5 of an allegedly straight Ukrainian? ;o)

  • jomicur

    Hey, our government’s support of LGBT equality is non-negotiable. Oh, wait…!

  • FLL

    Resident of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine who supports union with Russia:

    “There’s no democracy in Europe,” he told the Observer. “I’ve been to Germany. They give porno lessons in schools. It’s homosexual fascism. They impose their values on others.” [Emphasis mine.]

    You constantly run across this rhetoric from Putin supporters.

  • 4th Turning

    christian radicals are actually highly overt in their smarmy offensive-witness 700 club and/or
    sunday morning tv. Don’t ever mistake that pasted on smile for silence-its their insurance
    policy against anything factual. Obfuscation is ten times more effective than a tnt bustier-(forgive this last, just trying to confuse the govt. algorithm).

  • http://liberawheeler.blogspot.com Elijah Shalis

    I am guessing the reason they did this is so that Putin can’t say that the Fascists in Kiev are also homosexuals. I am sure he would just love to accuse them of being that as well.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Its actually just the Schengen countries, the UK isn’t part of that pact. They made a similar deal with Moldova but insisted on keeping the LBGT protections in. That led to a backlash and they seem to have got cold feet enforcing it on Ukraine right now.

    That said, the folk in the Ukraine are united against Russia and Putinism and they know they need all the friends they can get. So I don’t expect the neo-Nazi types to be pushing for any measure that could piss off the EU.

    The situation sucks. But the survival of Ukraine depends on the West regarding them as opposing Putin and everything he stands for.

  • Badgerite

    There are a lot of political forces at play here, for sure. Both internally and externally. But in the long run higher living standards and more transparent government and freer information are more likely to result in higher regard for civil rights of all than not. So I still support their desire to have closer relations with the EU. Though I don’t think at all that that means they want to have Russia as an enemy. Though this is a step backward and can only diminish their support in the west.

  • Indigo

    In that case, Russia’s welcome to the entire country.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It’s not just LGBT rights, but all civil rights seem to become dispensable when there are economic or political issues involved. But gay rights most of all.

  • nicho

    Well, you lie down with neo-Nazis and you get up with pink triangles on your shirt. If only the US had engineered the fascist coup in the Ukraine.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    It’s also alleged that George Bush and “the Jews” knew about 9/11 before it happened, and that Flight 370 went through an alien wormhole.

  • Olterigo

    In US. They’re not quiet about their beliefs in Ukraine and Russia. I bet the protestants in Ukraine are celebrating, because it wasn’t just the LGBT non-discrimination requirement that was dropped. The government also dropped a bill that would disband a committee on morals (in movies/TV/etc).

  • wearing out my F key

    Perhaps this is the EU’s retort to Victoria Nuland. Since we were largely responsible for picking a far right government, I guess we have it coming. Really, what else would you expect?
    Unfortunately, this will most likely not be the last bad news coming out of Ukraine.

  • caphillprof

    “The EU helped usher in an invasion from Russia (by attempting to establish closer ties with Ukraine, and thus provoking Russia – not that I think Russia’s ire is justified), and did little in response.” Westerners financed the “revolution” in the Ukraine. It is alleged that NATO provided the snipers in the plaza in Kiev.

  • FLL

    This is an example of when the European Union can be useless as a force for progress. Now I’ll offer a hypothetical example of when the EU would most likely abandon the cause of LGBT rights. All three Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) have anti-discrimination laws which protect gay people from workplace discrimination. If Russia invaded the Baltic countries, those anti-discrimination laws would go out the window. And the EU would not respond to a Russian invasion in any meaningful way. However, Russia won’t invade the Baltic countries, which will leave the Baltic pro-gay civil rights laws intact, because the Baltic countries are part of NATO. Hence the difference in purpose between the European Union and NATO. Point taken?

  • perljammer

    If Christian radicals were as overt about their beliefs as radical Muslims are, we would see stonings instead of hurtful signs at gay pride events. Maybe not so much better off, eh?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    It seems gas is the the EU what oil is the US. We’ll suck up to whoever we have to in order to get our next fix. The EU is Russia’s crack shore just like we are Saudi Arabia’s.

  • St Martyr

    That has been life for as long as we have known-from family ‘relationships’ to governmental ones. Human nature.

  • http://liberawheeler.blogspot.com Elijah Shalis

    We would be better off if Christian radicals were as overt about their beliefs as radical Muslims are, then the majority of people would oppose them. However they stay silent knowing the backlash would destroy them. I have seen this many times. I wish religion wasn’t used as the basis for hate against other people like it has been in the past to justify slavery or the oppression of women.

  • MichaelS

    Time for the US to send an openly-gay ambassador to Ukraine. Make them put up or shut up… either they want US assistance (and they embrace equal rights) or they don’t.
    Oh, wait, of course we won’t do that… That would require integrity.

  • MichaelS

    And for all the EU bluster about Russia, they’re not remotely ready to begin supporting sanctions, for fear of losing their precious gas supply from Russia. Suck it up, put up or shut up.

  • 4th Turning

    Good news, indeed. The stagnating eu can expect another long overdue 2nd Renaissance, as our
    friends will be bringing with them above average creativity and intelligence.

  • Drew2u

    This is part of my consterpating back with the Stoli boycott when Russia’s anti-gay laws came in effect.
    The U.S. barely renewed the START treaty last time around because of the loose-buttholes in congress and on FOX. If ignoring some human rights is what it takes to stop or halt an oncoming confrontation, then that’s what’s going to happen.

  • 2patricius2

    When one people’s rights are dispensable, all peoples’ rights are dispensable. It is only a matter of time and government convenience.

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