Thursday, 12 February 2009

LGBT Georgia: gay group demands dismissal of Public TV official; new issue of Me magazine

Inclusive Foundation, LGBT group in Georgia has appealed to the Public Broadcaster's board of supervisors to dismiss the deputy director-general of the Public TV Giorgi Chanturia for his homophobic rhetoric. In its January issue, the popular Georgian magazine Hot Chocolate featured an extensive discussion on the new programming of the Georgian Public TV. When asked by one of participants “whether Public TV had prepared any single programme devoted to minorities”, Chanturia responded with a question: "For pederasts?" (a derogative term to refer to gays). Reportedly, he made also other xenophobic remarks. Georgian LGBT group argues that Chanturia's statements are “out of line with the Public Broadcaster's code of conduct.” Inclusive Foundation reports that “the board has yet to respond.” Apparently, number of media outlets in Georgia dismissed Chanturia’s remarks, a “welcomed” development, as indicated by Georgian LGBT group. They promise to provide more details in the next issue of their bi-lingual LGBT magazine “Me”.

In the meantime, the 9th issue of the magazine is out now. Notions of sexuality and gender identity/roles, including those reflected in Georgian culture and language, are the main focus of the current issue.
Like “non–traditional” sexual orientation, gender balance or equality has become a fashionable topic in the Georgian media. Aside from radically divergent assessments and distorted terminology, the thing that most stands out while reading these materials is author’s superficial knowledge of fundamental issues. Yet the media plays one of the most important roles in the formation and dissemination of social stereotypes within society.
As for gender issues in general, it should be pointed out that, thanks to years of efforts on the part of women’s organizations, at least some journalists have provided thoughtful and qualified coverage of relevant events. This cannot be said, however, about topics concerning sexuality and sexual orientation.
This can be explained on the one hand by the divergent views held by professionals working in the fields of sexology and psychology and on the other hand by the scarcity of academic materials on the topic in the Georgian language.
The main focus of this issue was selected, to a certain extent, because of this information vacuum. We hope that Me’s ninth issue – which is devoted to issues concerning the nature and interplay of sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity – will be of interest to people working in the media, as well as others concerned about such topics.

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