On the evening of September 11 in the Les Kurbas Theater in Lviv, during a literature marathon and poetry readings from the anthology of gay/lesbian literature "120 Pages of Sodom," a large confrontation, accompanied by an equally large skirmish, took place: opponents of LGBT themes in literature, "misunderstood the humor" of the publishers, and disrupted the event, which, incidentally, was a part of the larger Ukrainian Publishers Forum. The police cleared up the incident, but not without it resulting in the injury of a photojournalist from the internet publication ZIK, who was there on assignment.
One of the highlights of the Forum, which took place in Lviv, was the unveiling of the the project 120 Pages of Sodom, the first anthology of LGBT poetry and prose in Ukraine. 120 Pages of Sodom was printed by publishing house "Kritika" (Criticism). Works by 30 different authors hailing from 15 countries from around the world were included in the anthology. Writerings from Ukraine, Russia, Belorussia, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Germany, Austria, Scotland, Spain, Greece, Switzerland and USA were represented. All materials for the project have been translated for the first time into Ukrainian.
Creating a Ukrainian edition of the anthology of contemporary world gay/lesbian literature was the brainchild of three young poets: Irina Shuvalova, Albina Pozdnyakova and Olesya Barloga. However, certain parties in Lviv, who clearly are not fans of LGBT literature, expressed their opposition to the subject by violent means. First, they assaulted the compilers of the anthology and representatives of the press house "Kritika" at a press conference in a conference hall of the internet publication "Zapad.net" and then repeated their actions during a presentation of the book in the Kurbas Theater.
At the 15-minute presentation a scuttle began in the lobby of the theater. The police were able to quickly intervene in the brawl as they had arrived even before the beginning of the protest, since the possibility of provocation was anticipated. Two of the attackers burst into the hall and tore off a tablecloth, but were neutralized by the police and one of the Russian authors, Dmitry Kuzmin.
Meanwhile, in the lobby of the theater a genuine fight continued, which the photojournalist for ZIK tried to document. However, the police, despite his declarations of fulfilling his professional responsibilities, took his flash from him and tried to confiscate his camera. Only after the journalist received several bruises was he able to convince the police that he was a press representative and not part of the militant groups. Two get-away-cars carried the thugs off. Other "activists" tried to stop their departure by lying in front of the wheels, but the astute driver drove away in reverse.
The organizers of the literature marathon and the compilers of the anthology were certain that the realization of this project would help increase tolerance of Ukrainians toward the LGBT population and also help promote new creative relationships between Ukrainian and foreign writers.
Translated by Timothy Grishin