On the heels of two very disturbing LGBT-related stories coming out of the former Soviet republic of Ukraine comes another disheartening development: according to Gay Star News, an LGBT photo exhibition in the Kiev Visual Culture Research Center was vandalized on Saturday, May 19, the day before threats from extremist groups and a lukewarm response from the police forced the cancellation of what would have been the capital city’s first-ever gay pride parade and violent right-wing thugs attacked its organizers.
The two male vandals are said to have waited until they were alone with the photographs — which were taken by the award-winning photographer Yevgenia Belorusets and depicted the day-to-day lives of Ukrainian LGBT people and families — and slashed them with a fork, throwing some of them to the floor. 26 of the exhibition’s 40 photographs were damaged.
Organizers of the exhibition are “shocked” by the attack, according to Olena Shevchenko, chair of Insight NGO, one of the organizing groups. She said that showings of Belorusets’ photos were scheduled for three other venues, but that Saturday’s attack will force the cancellation of those remaining events. Shevchenko further added that she, like other LGBT rights workers in Kiev, has very little confidence in the willingness of the police to support and protect LGBT people and organizations from vandalism and violence.