Propaganda Politics and LGBTIQ in the Context of the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
4:15 pm
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 IAB (420 W. 118th St, 12th floor)

Please join the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations and the Ukrainian Studies program at the Harriman Institute for a panel discussion with Yelena Goltsman, founder/co-president, RUSA LGBT, and Bogdan Globa, founder/president, QUA - LGBTQ Ukrainians in America. Moderated by Masha Udensiva-Brenner.

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of our Russian Studies & Policy event series.

In 2013, the Russian State Duma passed a law banning the “propaganda” of “nontraditional” sexual relations to minors. This created an atmosphere of impunity, with spikes in homophobic crimes and “huntings” of LGBTIQ people all over Russia. The following year, revolution broke out in Ukraine and Russian television networks presented it as a fascist, Western-sponsored, gay conspiracy. Throughout the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Russia's strategy has continued to include anti-LGBTIQ messaging both at home and in Ukraine. How has Russian propaganda during the conflict influenced queer politics? Is there any chance that, with Ukraine’s new government and the recent protests in Russia, LGBTIQ issues will gain traction?

Bogdan Globa is a human rights activist who left Ukraine and relocated to New York in 2016. He is the first openly gay person to present a speech to the Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada. Bogdan lobbied antidiscrimination and civil partnership laws in Ukraine. From 2015 until 2016, he worked as an assistant to the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Hryhoriy Nemyria. Today Bogdan is the founder and leader of the New York-based ProudUkraine, an association of LGBT+ Ukrainians living in North America, committed to assisting others and raising awareness of issues that LGBT+ individuals in Ukraine are facing. You can read his op-ed about how Russia exports homophobia to Ukraine in Georgetown Public Policy Review.

Yelena Goltsman is a Kyiv-born human rights and LGBTQ activist. In 2008 she founded RUSA LGBT, a social network for the Russian-speaking LGBTQ community in the New York area and beyond. The goal of the organization is to increase acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ people within the greater Russian-speaking immigrant community and provide support to those who seek asylum in the U.S. as a result of anti-gay laws and increased homophobia in their countries. RUSA LGBT group organizes the annual Brighton Beach Pride march. Goltsman was awarded the 2014 Brooklyn Lambda Independent Democrats Award, 2018 Public Advocate Tish James’s LGBTQ Award and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's LGBTQ Pride Award. She is a 2015 COJECO Keystone Fellow.  

Masha Udensiva-Brenner is print & digital media manager at the Harriman Institute and a freelance journalist. She has reported on the 2013 antigay "propaganda" law and LGBTIQ asylum seekers in the U.S. for the Awl, Guernica, and Eurasianet. She profiled Goltsman for Tablet in 2014.

Photograph by Maria Mammina