Two men conducting a social experiment to gauge the general public’s reaction to same-sex relationships in Kiev, Ukraine were attacked by a large group of young men recently, heckled and pepper-sprayed for showing affection in a public space.
The men conducting the experiment for Bird in Flight magazine were inspired by ChebuRussia TV, the YouTube pranksters who launched the same experiment in Moscow earlier this month.
In the original video, the ChebuRussia TV guys walked around Moscow holding hands to see how the public would react. Aside from a few passersby who didn’t even notice the couple, most of the interactions were negative and aggressive.
In the remake below, Zoryan Kis and Tymur Levchuk did much of the same, but wound up on a public bench with a bouquet of flowers, one sitting on the other’s lap.
At one point in the video, the guys’ affection prompts a group of 15-20 aggressive young men to come over and attack. One man sprays the couple in the eyes with pepper spray.
The reaction, according to Kis and Levchuk, is indicative of a type of “far-right” mentality that dominates a minority of young men in the country. These men, acting on their conservative ideals, have taken inspiration from neighboring Russia in trying to “correct” same-sex couples in public when they see them.
“Ukraine has definitely made some progress, and the fact that there isn’t state homophobia in Ukraine is probably the reason why ordinary people weren’t aggressive towards us,” Kis told The Guardian. “But if Ukraine wants to move on and get closer to Europe, the government must act to protect us from people like those attackers.”
You can check out the video below: