Earlier this week (15 September), Ukraine citizens participated at a Pride event in the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

LGBTQ activists attended Svobody Square and later gathered at Konstitutsii Square in downtown Kharkiv, where the march was met with anti-LGBTQ protesters. 2000 participants came to KharkivPride, while the counter-event had roughly 500.

In Shevchenko Park, a teenage boy was chased, assaulted and kicked to the ground by homophobes while on-lookers applauded. Gleb Garanich, a photographer from Reuters, took pictures of the assault and was the only person to intervene.

After the angry mob had pinned him down, Garanich lifted the boy and carried him to safety. Andrew Kravchenko, another photographer on the scene, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the boy “could have been killed”.

In an email to Peta Pixel, Garanich said he intervened “because there was a serious threat to the teenager’s life”.

LGBTQ rights in Ukraine have advanced in recent years, but queer people still face challenges not faced by heterosexual residents. Same-sex activity is legal and there are anti-discrimination laws in employment, but there’s no recognition for same-sex couples. Gay marriage is yet to be legalised and hate speech and conversion ‘therapy’ are still legal.