Saturday, 18 May 2013

Part I: Victory for homophobes. Defeat for Georgia

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, marked annually on 17 May, turned into a “National Day FOR Homophobia” in Georgia capital Tbilisi.

Local LGBT rights group planned a silent 30 mins flashmob, in order to draw attention to discrimination and other problems faced by LGBT people in Georgia. Yet, despite promises on PM level to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, they got attacked by homophobic thugs led by Georgian Orthodox church priests (!). By thousands (as per some estimates, up to 20K) of them. And this day will be remembered more as the day when hate occupied Tbilisi, and medieval instincts and rituals rather than rule of law prevailed.

*picture by © Onnik Krikorian 2013

And this happened in a country that is considered a ‘champion of democracy’ in the region, being ahead of neighbouring Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on effectively all indicators. Under the facade of "democracy" - we witnessed Middle Ages in Georgia.

*screenshot - via PublicPost

According to the Ministry of Health, 28 people were injured as a result of violence. “Healthcare Minister, Davit Sergeenko, said that 14 of them, including one journalist, were hospitalized. Injuries are not life-threatening, he said.”

Reflecting the events, Making Connection blog writes: “We Are All Georgian LGBT Rights Activists”.
This, a day after ILGA-Europe published its 2013 Rainbow Europe package reviewing the situation of LGBTI people in Europe, giving Georgia the highest grade among the three South Caucasus countries.
And this, a day after the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, where Finland's entrant Krista Siegfrids sang "Marry Me" and kissed one of her female back-up singers "to make a statement about the lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriages in Finland." (As far as I know, the song contest was broadcast in Georgia.) [...]
Incidentally, tomorrow is also the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in which Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia will be competing. How great would it be if Georgia's entrants, following in the footsteps of Finland's entrant, ended their performance with a "same-sex kiss" or at least made some comment condemning the acts of the violent anti-gay rights protestors today? 

Yes, 17th May 2013 was a victory for homophobes. But it was ultimately the day of defeat for Georgia.

Part II: LGBT activists under attack in Tbilisi: Georgian police and politicians

Part III: Criminal church: Georgian Orthodox Church incited and led anti-gay attacks in Tbilisi

Part IV: the aftermath of church-led homophobic attacks in Georgia. PM Ivanishvili delivers groundbreaking Independence Day speech

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