The very first Gay Pride in the Ukraine, which was to be held on 20 May 2012, was cancelled at the last moment due to extremist threats. The secret route had been leaked and hundreds of members of dangerous anti-gay groups hunted down gays who were on their way to the Pride. Two of the organizers were hospitalized.

Journalists Tim den Besten and Nicolaas Veul were in the Ukraine for VPRO Dorst to report on the Gay Pride. In the documentary Gay Champions they follow the journey to the very first Gay Pride in the Ukraine. The preparations, the safety measures, the secrecy surrounding the route, and finally the drama on the day of the gay parade.

The fact that only now gays in the Ukraine have dared organize a Gay Pride has everything to do with Euro 2012. With the world’s gaze fixed upon the country gays felt encouraged to stand up for their rights. And that’s crucial, because in the Ukraine gays have no rights. If you kiss your boyfriend out on the street you can be arrested, and if your landlord finds out you’re gay he’ll evict you. Chances are things will soon get even worse when a law against ‘gay propaganda’ is passed. The law not only prohibits (positive) media coverage about homosexuality, but also makes support and education punishable.

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