Status of same-sex partnerships in Ukraine

stmm. 2020 (3): 143-166



monitoring and evaluation coordinator, Eurasian Coalition on Male Health, Tallinn

(142, Pärnu manatee, Tallinn, Estonia, 11317)


national expert on health of MSM and human rights for LGBT in Ukraine, Expert Group on Health and Rights of Gays and other MSM in Ukraine (P. O. box 75, Kyiv-126, 03126)


leading sociologist at the Department of Social Expertise, Institute of Sociology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (12, Shovkoyvchna St., Kyiv, 01021)

The proposed article aims to summarize available quantitative and qualitative data on same-sex partnerships in Ukraine, including data on the presence of children in such partnerships, over the last twenty years (1999–2018). The increasing number of publications on various aspects of the existence of same-sex couples in English demonstrates the relevance of the topic. The information available in Ukraine is the richest in comparison with other post-Soviet countries of the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. At the same time, LGBT families remain out of the academic community in Ukraine, and the data collected are mostly contained in the so-called "gray literature" (mainly research reports by public organizations), and are not introduced into scientific circulation. It is shown that, depending on the composition of the sample and the definition of same-sex partnership used by the researchers, this percentage most often falls within the range of 16–28% of surveyed homosexual and bisexual men residing in the capital and regional centers of Ukraine. Quantitative information on women partnerships is extremely limited (one survey of a small sample), and there is no quantitative data for the couples, where one or both partners are transgenders. Quantitative information on children in same-sex partnerships is also very limited, and the data in the literature (with all the methodological disadvantages indicated) ranges from 14% to 29% of LGB, which have children, but it is unknown whether these children were raised in same-sex couples.

With regard to quality information, the situation is different — a little bit more is known about the status of women and partly transgender partnerships (including the issue of children in such families) than about male couples. Separate data demonstrates a significant similarity in the same-sex partnership structure to the typical heterosexual egalitarian family model (two partners and their children), taking into account more egalitarian marriage roles, lack of formal status, and associated socio-economic risks. Further research (including national level) should be based on a common understanding of what constitutes “same-sex partnership”, what are the characteristics of same-sex partnership (civil, family), what characteristics of civil partnership turn it into a“family”, etc.

Keywords: nuclear family, meta-analysis, LGBT, civil partnerships, Ukraine


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Received 08.04.2020