Bogdan Globa — human rights and LGBTQ activist, leader, and co-founder of QUA - LGBTQ UKRAINIANS IN AMERICA (based in Washington, D.C.), first openly gay person to address the Ukrainian Parliament and rewarded TOP 30 under 30 Ukrainians in 2016.
Life and LGBTQ Activities in the US
In November 2016, Bogdan came to the US at the invitation of Brown University to give a lecture on the LGBT movement in Ukraine. Based on the increasing number of death threats he was receiving due to his visible LGBT activism in Ukraine, he made a difficult decision and asked for political asylum in the USA. He settled down in New York and in 2018, he co-founded QUA - LGBTQ Ukrainians in America, the first Ukrainian LGBTQ organization in the US, with a group of people in order to help, support, and exchange experiences among all Ukrainian LGBTQ people who have immigrated to the US.
In 2019, he organized the first Ukrainian group at the World Pride in New York City. Georgian and Belarusian LGBTQ activists joined the Ukrainian group, as well as special guests from TERGO, the Ukrainian movement of parents of LGBTQ people.
In February 2019, he co-organized and participated in the panel discussion on Global LGBT Civil Rights Policy: Implications of the 2018 Midterm Rainbow Wave at The McCourt School of Public Policy schools of Georgetown University, where he and his mom Olena Hloba, the leader of TERGO, the Ukrainian movement of parents of LGBTQ people, had a conversation about perspectives for human rights in the new reality.
In March 2019, the Georgetown Public Policy Review published his Op-ed How Russia exports homophobia into Ukraine.
On June 27, he co-organized Panel discussion Human Rights for LGBTQ Community in New Political Realities - New Challenges or Opportunities? at Capital Hill. The panel discussion was held with the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, a number of staffers, and the delegation of TERGO.
As part of QUA human rights activity and promoting cultural exchange between Ukraine and the US, he also helped arrange the panel discussion with Max Nefedov, first deputy minister of economy of Ukraine at Georgetown University, and also several events/public discussions about the current situation with LGBTQ rights in Ukraine at NYU and Columbia University (NYC), basing on one of that conversation the Harriman Institute at Columbia University published the work The Politics of Anti-LGBTQ Propaganda in Russia and Ukraine.
In March 2020, Bogdan and QUA team finished incorporating QUA - LGBTQ Ukrainians in America as an American non-government organization and got an official tax-exempt status from the US government.
At the age of 15, Bogdan came out to his parents, who reacted with rejection and hostility, forcing Bogdan to leave home. This was the start of his independent life and a focus on human rights, specifically LGBT rights. In 2004, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine inspired Bogdan to become more active in the area of human rights based on the understanding that the people themselves can and must be agents of change.
In 2006, Bogdan moved to Kyiv where he connected with local LGBT-activists and became involved in human rights activism. In 2009, Bogdan co-founded the NGO Fulcrum All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization FULCRUM. He initially served as the organization’s Financial Director, subsequently becoming the Executive Director.
In 2012, Bogdan was selected to participate in a special training course on "Advocacy of LGBT Rights in the USA", funded by the US State Department Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
After finishing the State Department program, he returned to Ukraine and implemented a number of ideas, including a movement among parents (“TERGO”), aimed to support parents of LGBT children; the Ukrainian Corporate Equality Index, the first-ever open survey and ranking of LGBT policies and practices among business and organizations; and the Friendly Doctor, an innovative platform that provides accessible and friendly medical services for LGBT people throughout Ukraine. He also began to work with elected officials to support legislative initiatives aimed at the protection and advancement of rights and freedoms for the LGBT community.
On November 7, 2013, during hearings in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) on the proposed European Integration and anti-discrimination law, Bogdan made a very public coming-out as the first openly gay person to address the parliament. After that speech, he took on the role of Assistant to Head of the Human Rights Committee, Hryhoriy Nemyria. The Ukrainian Parliament voted for a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2016.
On July 23, 2014, he spoke in the Capitol on LGBT rights in Ukraine.
Bogdan continues to actively advocate for equality of LGBT rights in Ukraine, for the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and for the adoption of civil partnership law.
Political and public activity
Bogdan was an active leader in the EuroMaidan movement and Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine (2013-2014). He called on the LGBT community to participate in the revolution under the European flag rather than the rainbow flag to maintain unity and avoid a damaging split into ineffective factions. He also opposed a direct provocation of pro-Russian forces that were trying to splinter the EuroMaidan protest movement by fomenting controversy related to LGBT rights.
On January 14, 2014, in protest of a fake “gay parade” designed to undermine the movement, Bogdan organized a peaceful action near the office of “Ukrainian Choice,” the organization that had co-organized the provocation. During the action, along with other activists, Bogdan attempted to present the organization’s leader Mr. Medvedchuk with a fake ceremonial certificate “For significant contribution to the development of LGBT movement” that featured the famous photo of the kiss between Henry Kissinger and Leonid Brezhnev. The symbolic gesture was meant to call attention to the law on the “Prohibition of Homosexual Propaganda” that had been adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament upon its first reading and formed a part of several “dictatorship laws” passed under ousted President Yanukovych.
In December 2014, Hryhoriy Nemyria, Head of the Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities, and International Relations, confirmed the appointment of Bogdan Globa as his volunteer assistant. Bogdan actively worked in the Human Rights Committee, raising issues of international anti-discrimination standards as well as issues of implementation of European standards against discrimination.
In November 2015, Bogdan was elected secretary of an expert council formed under the Committee on Human Rights. At the same time, he was also actively fighting for an amendment to the Labor Law on the prohibition of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
On November 12, 2015, together with members of parliament Svitlana Zalishchuk and Mustafa Nayyem, he hung a banner on the balcony of the Verkhovna Rada bearing the words “Equality for all” and the logo of the Human Rights Campaign – the biggest pro-LGBT rights organization. This was to celebrate a momentous occasion - on that day the Verkhovna Rada with a majority of 234 votes adopted draft law #3442 which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Ukraine.
Globa and the Democratic Alliance
In June 2014, a public conflict broke out between Bogdan Globa and the Democratic Alliance Party in Ukraine. The conflict started when Bogdan’s application for membership in the Democratic had been rejected on the grounds that his LGBT activism contradicted the Christian values of the party. After Bogdan published correspondence with the deputy head of the party on his Facebook page, a follow-up discussion went viral on the social media platform. Many supporters of the Democratic Alliance were surprised to find out about the party’s Christian ideology and internal opposition to key issues such as same-sex marriages and legal abortion while prior to the open conflict with Bogdan the party had positioned itself as a young democratic pro-European party.
At the press conference organized to address the conflict, Vasyl Gatsko, the head of Democratic Alliance party, commented on the denial of membership to Bogdan Globa, “The philosophy [of the party] assumes that family is a union of a man and a woman. At the same time, we do not deny and do not mind that other forms of life are possible”.
On May 26, 2015, a district court in Kyiv agreed to hear a case brought by Bogdan Globa against the Democratic Alliance claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation. This case is currently pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
Early years and education
Bogdan Globa was born in Zachepylivka, a semi-rural town located in the Kharkiv Oblast (province) of Ukraine, about 200 km south of Kyiv, the capital. In 1995, his family moved to Poltava. He grew in the family of teachers; his mother was a teacher of English and his father taught economic theory.
In 2011, he graduated with a master’s degree from the Department of Finance and Accounting of the Poltava University of Economics and Trade.
In 2015, he successfully completed his studies in the Management Development Program at Kyiv-Mohyla Business School with a focus on the “Management: the Art of Making Management Decisions.”