It's okay to be gay
It's okay to be gay  mylovanov stories
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frankarcher
frankarcher Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), Opt
Autoplay OFF   •   a year ago
Mylovanov is a divorced Salsa dancer with Ivy League school credentials.

It's okay to be gay

On November 16, Ukraine's Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Tymofiy Mylovanov gave an exclusive interview to the Kyiv-based Pryamiy TV channel.

Within the first ten minutes of the hour-long discourse, the 44-year old top Ukrainian bureaucrat established his bona fides: he is a divorced Salsa dancer with Ivy League school credentials.

Then things got weird. Mylovanov inexplicably blurted out the first and last name of his American estranged spouse, a Goth, and the city where she currently resides.

He added that he has a lover in Kyiv, whose identity he has decided to keep secret.

The minister next confessed to smoking pot in grad school and bragged that he is a millionaire with investments in about a dozen American pension funds.

The stigma in Ukraine of non-traditional sexual orientation and recreational drug use provide clues to some of Mylovanov's unsolicited admissions. The others are best explained by a psychiatrist.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, gay men and women in many republics of the former USSR had to keep their sexual preferences hidden for fear of ruining their careers.

To give the appearance of being straight homosexuals would sometimes marry a person of the opposite sex in what was known as a lavender marriage.

Around the turn of the century, the color lavender was often associated with homosexuality, so the term was adopted to mean cover-up marriages arranged to keep up the facade of heterosexuality.

With the possible exception of Mylovanov, it's okay today for Ukrainian public officials to be gay.

At least two of his colleagues in government are helping their country increase public awareness and acceptance of non-traditional sexual orientation. Neither are opposed to smoking dope.

Both Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk and State Customs Service head Maksym Nefyodov are openly pro-choice, while 70% of Ukraine's adult population still aggressively condemns this choice.

This revolutionary development was not lost on Ukraine's stodgy ex-Transportation Minister Yevheny Chervonenko.

He recently observed that Honcharuk and Nefyodov for years had not skipped a single gay parade in Europe.

"Over the past three years, Mr. Honcharuk and Mr. Nefyodov have not missed a single Pride Parade in Europe. They always flew together," Chervonenko said.

Already burdened with the colossal task of improving Ukraine's economy by sacking thousands of corrupt officials, changing laws and providing businesses with new opportunities.

Ukraine's new ministers have so far not spoken openly about their sexuality and feelings because of peer pressure and social stereotypes. That might change, though.

When Mylovanov was born, gays in Ukraine were prosecuted. They could be sent to prison for proven facts of homosexuality or sent to a psychiatric clinic for treatment.

Many thousands of people suffered during this time suffered as a result.

Since then, Ukraine's laws have been amended.

Gay rights activists annually record thousands of cases of employees with nontraditional sexual orientations being harassed or dismissed by company executives.

But the community of people in Ukraine claiming their rights is growing. Every year in on the capital's main thoroughfare a gay pride march is held.

There are also hundreds of smaller events, at which gay pride activists can meet one another and build solidarity.

The events help others to share their experiences and mitigate prejudice and discrimination.

But Ukraine is full with active enemies of freedom. Marches under rainbow banners are often disrupted by members of right-wing radical groups and neo-Nazi groups.

Public reaction to accusations of support of Ukraine's gay community and recreational drug abuse remains negative.

Recently, several individuals took a bold step that shamed Ukraine's homophobes for their closed mindedness and lack of cultural sophistication.

Several army veterans of the war with Russia in eastern Ukraine openly declared their sexual orientation.

Those who took up arms in Ukraine to defend their country enjoy great respect in society.

The step forced many Ukrainians to re-think their attitudes and change their aggressive point of view about alternate lifestyles.

Ukraine's neo-Nazi groups, however, were not impressed.

They are currently attempting to influence Ukrainian society against the freedom of sexual orientation and Ukraine's top three new officials.

In October 2019, Ihor Mosyichuk, a former member of parliament, ultra-radical leader and commander of a neo-Nazi battalion that insulted civilians during fighting in Donbas.

There is no need to wait for new attacks.

The example of Ukrainian war veterans, who declared their preferences openly, forcing society to respect them as they are, should be repeated by others, including Mylovanov.

Honcharuk and Nefyodov, meanwhile, have six months of successful reforms behind them and have earned national notoriety and respect.

Their decision to "come out" could trigger a completely new level of tolerance, discourse understanding and openness in Ukrainian society.

These three public officials can help millions of their compatriots change their views of the world and human sexuality.

Whatever comes from Mylovanov's public service in Ukraine, one thing is clear: He has already decimated his reputation among American Goths.

The Kyiv Pride March organization was founded in 2012. An attempt to hold a Pride March that year was blocked by the authorities.

In 2013, Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Popov called the attempt to hold the event "a mockery of Kyivans." Gay Pride activists were still able to hold the March away from the city center.

In 2014, city officials also obstructed the LGBTQI community. However, in 2015, the Kyiv Pride march was held nevertheless.

Some 250 people took part, including members of parliament and ambassadors from some European countries.

In 2016, 1,000 people took part in the march, and in 2017 -- 4,000.

It's okay to be gay - http://bit.ly/2XBSOxt

In 2018, 6,000 people took part, and in 2019 -- 8,000, including 30 Ukrainian soldiers who decided to use the occasion to "come out" publicly.

All events were relatively successful, although some radical leaders, including ex-MP Mosyichuk, attempted through the courts to block the marches.

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