Nash Mir (Our World) Gay and Lesbian Centre was established in Luhansk in Southeastern Ukraine in 1997 as a grassroots group. By our initiative we took upon ourselves the responsibility for educating Ukrainian society about homosexuality, toppling recurrent stereotypes and prejudices against gays and lesbians, consolidating lesbian and gay community, and for advocating our rights.
This is the situation in Ukraine we discovered: there wasn’t a problem with homosexuality as long as it went unseen. At first, local judiciary officials simply did not know what to do with our organization! Interviewed by a national newspaper, one official said, How can we recognize them the organization on an official level, as a juridical person? There is no legal basis, though this sort of orientation isn’t forbidden, but neither are precedents… If I register them, excuse me, wankers will come, and someone else… And what about morality? Using far-fetched grounds they refused our registration.
Certainly we did not let ourselves be humbled by such obvious discrimination. Nash Mir was indeed registered at the end of 1999. But successful registration was made possible only as the result of a determined battle by the members of the organization for their legal rights, and the steadfast attention to this issue on the part of some international human rights organizations.