Ukraine: ‘Read Oscar Wilde? 5 years in prison’

"Read Oscar Wilde? Five years in prison" states this poster opposing Ukraine's proposed law against "gay propaganda." (Photo courtesy of stop.hate.in.ua)
“Read Oscar Wilde? Five years in prison” states this poster opposing Ukraine’s proposed law against “gay propaganda.” (Photo courtesy of stop.hate.in.ua)

Human rights activists in Ukraine have launched a media campaign and a petition drive against the proposal to impose a ban on “homosexual propaganda.”

"Listen to Queen? Five years in prison" states this poster opposing Ukraine's proposed law against "gay propaganda." (Photo courtesy of stop.hate.in.ua)
“Listen to Queen? Five years in prison” states this poster opposing Ukraine’s proposed law against “gay propaganda.” (Photo courtesy of stop.hate.in.ua)

Posters in Kiev metro stations point out some possible outcomes if the bill is passed:

“Listen to Queen? Five years in prison.”

“Read Oscar Wilde?  Five years in prison.”

“Watch the films of Francois Ozon?  Five years in prison.”

The online petition invites people to register their opposition to the bill, which provides for prison sentences of three to five years. The petition opposes the bill as a form of censorship and as a violation of people’s right to information.

“I am against the government choosing for me which movies to watch, which books to read, and which opinions to express,” the petition states.

It declares the signers’ opposition to government repression by means of turning so-called “propaganda” into a crime.

In October, the Ukraine parliament gave preliminary approval to the proposed ban.

Olena Shevchenko, executive director of the activist group Insight, says the aim of new informational campaign is to inform society about the threat posed by such a homophobic law and to collect as many signatures as possible against censorship and homophobia in Ukraine.

Shevchenko adds that the phrase translated above as “Five years (in prison)” is a double entendre. Its second meaning, as a grade at school, is “excellent.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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