BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Euro football fans on their way to a Sweden-Ukraine match were quite happy to embrace the rainbow-coloured Union Jack and European Union flags that a gay rights campaigner took to the streets of Kiev to show support for Ukraine's queer population, according to Gay Star News.
Football fans' friendly acceptance of the rainbow regalia pleasantly surprised Pride Solidarity campaigner Clare Dimyon — and she reports — three Ukrainian dykes she ran into on the festive streets June 11.
Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, had voiced concerns aboout the safety of queer football fans during the tournament, even suggesting that they stay away, in the wake of the violence that erupted during an aborted attempt to stage Kiev's first Pride parade.
But Dimyon told Gay Star News the atmosphere on the streets before the Sweden-Ukraine fixture was "unbelievable." For the occasion, Dimyon dressed as St Georgina (a takeoff on Britain's St George), and carried Euro mascots Slavek and Slavko decked out in Pride colours, a sight that ordinary Ukrainians couldn't get enough of, the report noted.
Pride Solidarity teamed up with the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation to keep the fight against homophobia in the region front and centre during the Euro matches.
The atmosphere that day in Kiev was markedly different from the violence that broke out during the Russia-Poland match yesterday in Warsaw, reflective of the contentious history the two countries share.
Image source: gaystarnews.com