By Paul P. Jesep, JD, MPS, MA (New York)
Pavlo Ungurian, Parliament member, and Ruslan Kukharchuk, leader of Love Against Homosexuality, are supporting misguided legislation based on misinformation that will further diminish Ukraine’s international standing.
Considering the challenges faced by the country, it’s a poor use of time to support a “homosexual propaganda” bill that will have no impact on the daily lives of average Ukrainians. It does nothing more than demonize a misunderstood minority. Time would be better spent passing quality legislation to promote ethics and transparency in government and reforming the economy to improve the living standards of ordinary citizens.
According to Mr. Ungurian the adoption of civil and human rights in the West is “not evolution, but degradation.” He added, “Our goal is the preservation of the moral, spiritual and physical health of the nation. We must stop the propaganda, the positive description and the publicity … of this abnormal lifestyle.” Considering the level of political and economic corruption in Ukrainian society the country has already been morally and spiritually compromised. Clearly, gays and lesbians can’t be blamed.
No one has ever been “converted” to homosexuality. If Mr. Ungurain’s assertions were true then Britain, Israel, Canada, and the United States, among other world powers with vibrant economic systems would be countries of primarily gays and lesbians. Think about New York City, regarded as one of the world’s greatest cities and an international center for art, culture, finance, and commerce. It has an open, vibrant gay and lesbian community, but the vast majority of its citizens are not homosexual. Ukrainians flock to California, a state that also has an open, vocal, and active homosexual community. California has benefited from their many, many contributions in art, theater, television, and commerce. Heterosexual Ukrainians or anyone else who visit places like California and New York City do not convert to homosexuality.
“We believe that homosexuality is a disease,” Mr. Kukharchuk has said. It “is a psychological disorder of a person and without a doubt there must be institutions, perhaps even financed by the government, to help such people get rehabilitation therapy.” Mr. Kukharchuk’s position is based on ignorance, not science.
Consider the following:
· The British Medical Society has denounced efforts to treat homosexuality as an illness. It has also strongly condemned “reparative therapy” as suggested by Mr. Kukharchuk.
· The International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) with more than 10,000 members in 30 countries calls discrimination based on sexual orientation unacceptable.
· The American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the (U.S.) National Association of Social Workers have long held based on extensive study and research that homosexuality is a “normal variant of human sexuality.” It is not a diagnosable mental disorder.
· According to the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, American Psychological Association, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, among other respected medical sources, there is no medical or scientific connection between pedophilia and homosexuality.
· Homosexuals are not a national security threat. They serve openly in the armed forces in France, Israel, Ireland, Canada, Finland, Australia, the United States, and Great Britain, among other countries.
· Some of the greatest artists, writers, and thinkers in the world were gay. They include: Chopin, Scriabin, Gogol, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Rimski-Korsakov among others. Should their works be banned?
The Chief Sexologist-Andrologist of the Crimea said homophobia or an inordinate focus on homosexuality reflects “hidden or obvious sexual disorder, sometimes relating to some homosexual experience, feeling of one’s own inferiority, unrealized fantasies.” He noted that “… all in all, [he] who cries louder, really needs medical care.”
Any time there are restrictions on someone else’s liberties then everyone’s freedom is under threat. Suppression of freedom starts incrementally. It begins with suppressing minorities the majority doesn’t understand. Tsars and Communists thought Ukrainians were a minority and suppressed the culture and language and attempted to suffocate the country’s national identity.
It would be a tragic mistake to consider this issue as impacting only a minority group. There is an underlying principle that impacts all Ukrainians. Permitting gays and lesbians to have the freedom of expression does not mean the majority of Ukrainians support what many incorrectly believe to be a “lifestyle choice.” What it does suggest is that freedom is precious and those who believe in it must be vigilant in its protection for everyone. As Voltaire rightly noted, “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death you’re right to say it.”
Ukrainians, once the persecuted, must not become the new persecutor. If Ukraine is to become a member of the European Union, if it is to reject Eurasian influence, if Kyivan-Rus is to be a respected, civilized nation on the international stage then it must embrace logic, science, and common sense. Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych must defeat this bill. Otherwise it will be another stain on Ukraine and all but assure that it will not become part of the European Union.
Paul P. Jesep is a New York attorney and Founder of Entrepreneur Spirit (www.EntrepreneurSpirit.biz), an American based consulting firm focused on ethics. He is also a bishop in the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the appointed U.S. spokesperson for Metropolitan Myfodii. The views expressed here are personal and in no way reflect those of his Church.