Crimea has banned a planned Pride march on the basis of Russia’s gay propaganda law.
Sevastopol authorities banned today (14 April) the parade scheduled for 22-23 April.
This is the first time LGBTI people in the peninsula have been forced to live under Russian homophobic rules since the beginning of the Crimea crisis.
LGBTI people were largely split on the referendum that saw 97% vote in favor of seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.
While many feel culturally Russian, they know the laws they are already being forced to live by are far more homophobic.
Maxim Kornilov, in an email to NBC News, said: ‘Before Russian occupation it was really complicated to be a gay in Ukraine, that’s why I’m still in a closet and feel trapped.
‘Now it’s absolutely unbearable.’
Crimea Republic State Council adopted a new constitution on 11 April, with many fearing it would include a clause defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
But the final version did not. Part 2 of Article 13 says the state guarantees equality of rights and freedoms of human and citizen. It does not explicitly state protections for LGBTI people.
Last year, one Ukrainian Member of Parliament Yuriy Syrotyuk said he feared respecting LGBTI people would lead to the secession of Crimea. He called the first gay pride parade in Kiev in 2012 an ‘act of aggression’.
‘LGBT legalization will blow up this country,’ he said. ‘If we take [a bill protecting LGBTIs from discrimination] to the parliament, not only Crimea will secede, but Ukrainian provinces will also start to leave the country.’