“Our ceremony is dedicated to the law on partnerships”: Zoryan and Tymur tell about their wedding

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Loud wedding ceremony of Ukrainian gay couple took place in Kyiv lately. It was non-official yet but newlyweds hope that the day when it would be possible to make such marriages legal in Ukraine is near at hand. The heroes of the day were famous LGBT activists, Freedom House coordinator in Ukraine Zoryan Kis and National LGBT portal journalist Tymur Levchuk. They often participate in campaigns together, appear on TV and in the media. Young people told our website of wedding ceremony, future plans and their relationship that they believe not to be different from heterosexual couples.

How long are you together? How did you meet?

Tymur: We are a couple for over 4 years. We met on the discussion meeting of one of the LGBT organizations. We got acquainted with Zoryan due to being the only Ukrainian speaking people on the event. For some time we communicated in social networks, then started to go to the public events of We Are Europeans movement together. And then we understood that our interest for each other turned into something larger.

Did you have an opportunity to declare your love to each other in public before the wedding?

Zoryan: Not in public. Though it seems that we usually declare our feelings for each other several times a day. And this classical love confession happened about a year ago in Zakarpattya by Synevir lake. We were sitting on the shore and told each other those cherished words. It all looked like a scene from a romantic movie. Still, we didn’t even think about wedding ceremony until recently as it’s impossible to make same-sex match legal in Ukraine. But it turned out that such, let’s say, decorative wedding became significant event for us as support and recognition of friends and close people is more important than recognition of the state.

Photo from the personal archive of the couple

What did you feel during the ceremony and which moment stood out in your mind?

Tymur: During the ceremony we were quite worn out by the preparations as we organized this event by ourselves.

Zoryan: I remembered the moment best when our friend Vika who moderated the ceremony turned to the guests and asked them whether they approved and accepted our marriage. And they shouted “Yes!” in the same breath. It was very moving and pleasant.

Tymur: It’s notable that most our guests were heterosexual people and they didn’t care what orientation we have.

Read also: “What did you took in your head?!” About queer wedding in Kyiv first hand (ru)

Did you have common wedding rings or rainbow ones?

Tymur: Common, silver ones.

Zoryan:…bought in a very heterosexual shop. The shop attendant there was very nervous, practically stuttering. It seemed that it was for the first time in her practice, when two guys felt free to buy wedding rings.

Did you have any rainbow symbols on your wedding?

Zoryan: We had a rainbow banner but decided not to unfold it. All wedding was held in blue and yellow. We were teased already, people called us “homonationalists”, but it was important for us not to split these two identities and try somehow to merge them.

Read also: “Patriotic gay-bandera wedding”. Taras Karasiichuk and Nick Maslov about their wedding in New-York

Photo from the personal archive of the couple

You truly don’t want to register your relationship in some Western country, as many Ukrainian and Russian same-sex couples do. Please, explain what are your reasons for it?

Tymur: There is one exception. If it is possible to register partnership and make our state accept it legal via court and by that give this right to other Ukrainian same-sex couples, it will be acceptable for us. The registration of partnership abroad as a goal in itself seems unpractical for us. What’s the use of it if it can’t be recognized in Ukraine?

Zoryan: We want to build our future in Ukraine. We believe that our country will get to marriage equality in course of time. I am an incurable optimist and this feature hasn’t let me down yet. To tell the truth, we didn’t expect such a wide response for our event. Due to the public attention our wedding turned into some kind of political act and in this case we dedicated it to the future law on partnerships in Ukraine.

Do you hope that this law will be worked out till 2017 according to the plan of the National strategy on human rights?

Zoryan: Given what happens in the country, given that the government has changed and, apparently, sooner or later we will have early parliamentary elections, this issue may be delayed for a year or two because of political turbulence. This is a worst-case scenario. And best-case one is that this law may really be passed soon. Though you need to understand that LGBT community must make every effort for it. It can’t be passed by itself.

Read also: National Strategy: LGBT are promised partnerships, transgender – the right to adopt

Photo from the personal archive of the couple

How do you think, is your relationship any different form heterosexual ones?

Zoryan: It seems that many people will criticize us for it, and maybe they will be right as we indeed try to copy heterosexual model of relationships and succeed in it to a greater extent. And heterosexuals themselves more and more often deny it.

Let me clarify, you talk of the model that includes a husband as a defender and breadwinner of the family and a wife as a guardian of the hearth and person making house a home? This is how lots of people still see the perfect family. Or do you mean something else?

Tymur: We have equal partnership. I think Zoryan meant that we don’t stand our relationship out as something special and don’t oppose it to heterosexual relationships  because they are based on the same feelings as same-sex ones. We by no means trespass on the institute of marriage, unlike some activists that believe that it has to be changed and reconsidered. On the contrary, it’s important for us to integrate into the institute of marriage and achieve the society’s acceptance of equality of homosexual and heterosexual relationships. And each family has its own way, there are lots of them.

Photo from the personal archive of the couple

Would you like to bring up a child together?

Zoryan: Yes, we thought about it and discussed it. Unfortunately it is really hard to achieve in Ukraine on practice. But Tymur has a nephew and a niece and I have a godchild and we often look after them. This is very valuable experience for us and it proves that we could raise our own children regardless would they be ours biologically or not.

Tymur: Let’s say, this question is not on the agenda yet.

Zoryan: Yes, because we would like to but, I repeat myself, it is not possible in our country yet.

I also have a nephew and I adore him. By the way there is a theory that evolutional duty of homosexuals is a role of super-uncles.

Tymur:  It’s quite possible. By the way, on the lecture on biological nature of homosexuality by genetic scientist Oleksandr Kolyada he told among other things that there was a specie of buffalos that, regardless of the circumstances, has 5-7% homosexual individuals and their duty is protecting younger generation.

Read also: How to outargue a homophobe using scientific evidence

So somehow we are such buffalos… (we laugh together)

Tymur: Seriously speaking, today we have lots of scientific evidences that homosexuality is biologically determined. And homophobia is unnatural, not existing in wildlife.

Автор: Kolya Camouflage

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