The Hornet-Sponsored Film “Marriage (In)Equality in Ukraine” Sheds Light on Queer Rights in Eastern Europe

The Hornet-Sponsored Film “Marriage (In)Equality in Ukraine” Sheds Light on Queer Rights in Eastern Europe

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Filmmaker and queer activist Yuriy Dvizhon’s latest short film gives viewers an in-depth look into queer life in Ukraine.

West Hollywood, Calif., Oct. 11, 2023 – Hornet, the world’s queer social network, has partnered with visionary filmmaker and queer activist Yuriy Dvizhon to help shed light on LGBTQ+ rights in Ukraine. Dvizhon’s latest documentary feature, Marriage (In)Equality in Ukraine is a two-part short that explores the reality of same-sex marriage in Ukraine, as the country’s Parliament is currently considering a bill on same-sex marriage. This bill would allow same-sex couples to have some of the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. The documentary premiered this Wednesday, October 11.

In part one of the documentary, Dvizhon poses the question: What if we lived in a world where the fight for marriage equality was reversed — and heterosexual couples were denied the right to marry? The simulation explores some of the most common consequences that queer couples face by not being granted fundamental rights: the daily prejudice, the lack of parental rights, and the inability to stay beside loved ones in life-and-death situations.

The second part of Dvizhon’s short brings together true stories from real same-sex couples in Ukraine and the impact the country’s lack of LGBTQ+ laws has had on their lives.

“When my previous boyfriend died, it was impossible to get into the ICU” says one of the contributors Anatoliy Yerema. “When you can’t say goodbye to a person [face-to-face], and say goodbye via SMS – it is inhumane”. Anatoly is a famous Ukrainian TV presenter who was one of the first national celebrities to have publicly come out.

The actual bill in question is draft law no. 9103, which “establishes the institution of a registered partnership as a voluntary family union of two adults of the same or different sex.” The one caveat is that it does not define the same-sex union as a marriage, as the fight for full marriage equality in Ukraine continues further. 

“LGBTQ+ families in Ukraine currently do not have any legal status, they are ignored by the state and the society”, explains Anna Sharyhina, program director at the NGO WA Sphere and co-organizer of KharkivPride. “We are talking about concrete issues that the state is supposed to guarantee to all citizens. It turns out that in the conditions of war and constant threat to human life, some Ukrainian men and women remain legally unprotected”.

Marriage (In)Equality in Ukraine is available to watch here on YouTube as well as on streaming platforms Megogo, Kyivstar TV, and OUT TV.    

The film Marriage (In)Equality in Ukraine was created by director and queer activist Yuriy Dvizhon, NGO WA Sphere, and KharkivPride under financial support of the European Union, the National Democratic Institute, and the gay social network Hornet.

About Hornet

Hornet is the world’s queer social network with over 35 million diverse users, providing a community home base that is available anytime, anywhere. Amplifying the radical, affirmative power of the queer community with cutting-edge technology, users feel comfortable sharing their experiences with friends who understand and validate their life. To find out more, please visit:

About the Creative Team

Director Yuriy Dvizhon, screenwriters Nastia Alieksieieva, and Ljosha Chashchyn are a team that united at the beginning of a full-scale invasion to create quality Ukrainian LGBTQIA+ content. The authors, being part of the Ukrainian queer community, focus their efforts on making it visible at home and in the world. Now the team is engaged in creating social campaigns, documentaries, and TV series. Our projects have been presented at huge international professional events, such as Series Mania Festival, Serial Killer Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Berlinale Talents Sarajevo. And there is more to come.

About the NGO WA Sphere

NGO Women’s Association Sphere is a non-governmental organization that has been engaged in human rights protection and education for more than 15 years and is the organizer of Women’s Solidarity Weeks and KharkivPride, the largest LGBTQ+ event in the East of Ukraine. In recent years, Sphere has expanded its activities to provide humanitarian and psychological assistance to women and LGBTQ+ people from Eastern Ukraine who are suffering from the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

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