A gay couple had this question: how would people react to them walking through the streets of Kiev while openly holding hands?
Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, which was a part of the former Soviet Union and geographically sits just southwest of Russia.
Like Russia, Ukraine is considerably hostile to homosexuality, with only 28% of the nation believing that gays and lesbians have the right to “live their lives the way they want.” This is despite the fact that the majority of the nation considers themselves irreligious. The couple had already conducted this experiment in Moscow — Russia’s capital — where they got a chilly reception, and now they wanted to discover what the response would be in Ukraine.
Early portions of the video show them eliciting countless stares and weird looks from folks, but no outward criticism.
As they continued on their walk, people began to express their astonishment. One woman was so amazed that she began taking video. She told the pair that she had never seen a same-sex couple expressing affection in public, and asked them to kiss for her.
But then things started to get ugly.
The couple sat down on a public bench, one on top of the other in an affectionate pose that nobody would question from any number of loving heterosexual couples. It was this that seemed to solicit some unwelcome guests.
Described in the video as “neo-nazis” or “radicals” the gang of homophobes immediately began harassing the gay men. As police were present when they arrived, the gang pretended to merely verbally harass the two. The minute the cops left, however, they doused them in pepper-spray and began hitting and kicking them.
A man in a blue button-down appeared to break up the fight. He appeared to just be a passing civilian, but the video does not make it clear.
Despite the physical violence toward them, the couple offered a fairly compassionate assessment of Ukraine, insisting that, “in our society there are a very few aggressive homophobic radicals.”
A part of the video that made my heart swell was when one of the assailants told the affectionate couple that they “were fucking mistaking this place for America.” I am so proud to see my country start to take a moral stand on this issue and set an example on the world stage. If homophobic Nazis are using “America” as a slur, we sure as hell are doing something right.