Sunday 30 September 2007

Argentine team beats British side to win Gay World Cup

*An Argentina's Dogos player (C) and an England's London Stonewall player (L) react at the end of the final match of IGLFA Football World Cup 2007 in Buenos Aires, on 29 September. Argentina's Dogos won the match by 1-0 and the championship. © 2007 AFP - Juan Mabromata

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) — Argentina's Los Dogos captured the gay football World Cup Saturday, defeating British title-holders Stonewall 1-0 in Buenos Aires in the first final held in Latin America.

The two teams were among 28 squads from Europe, the Americas and Australia that participated in the 10th gay football world championship aimed at highlighting the fight against homophobia and discrimination.

With their victory, Los Dogos, named after an Argentine dog breed, automatically qualified for the 2008 tournament hosted by London.

"The people supported us and I hope it's always like this," said Dogos coach Nestor Gammella, 51, after the final held at the Defensores de Belgrano stadium. "We beat the world champions and we are happy."

It was the first time Latin American teams played in the tournament organized by the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA), with squads from Mexico, Chile and Uruguay.

IGFLA president Tomas Gomez said Buenos Aires was chosen to host the cup this year for its "respect and social acceptance of the gay community."

Buenos Aires is increasingly seen as a gay-friendly city. In 2002, the city's government approved gay and lesbian civil unions.

Friday 28 September 2007

Arts Review Yerevan: The Artist as Anarchist - Arman Grigoryan

"The Armenian community suppresses individuality and forces people to be similar to each other. The characters on my paintings are in communities as well, but each of them decides for himself the way he wants to be, what community to choose and underlines his individuality upon his own choice", says Arman Grigoryan, one of the founders of the avant-garde movement of the 1980s in Armenia, whose exhibition opened at the Center for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPAK) in Yerevan.

"I want us to understand that the Northern Avenue is a symbol of socialist revolution. Tamanyan’s design plan symbolizes the victory of the Bolshevik revolution and not that of wealthy people as it is interpreted today,” says Grigoryan. The naked soldier of Slavonic appearance and the woman symbolize also sexuality and freedom: “North is a kind of a dream for Armenians. Everyone speaks of the West, but we say the North. North has been a kind of a symbol of modernism; individualism has come from there. They are naked because progress for me is tied up with nakedness. True heroes are naked. Statues of people in overcoats cannot express the heroism of the shown persons," he says.

As Vahan Ishkhanyan from ArmeniaNow pointed out, " much effort and sacrifice would be needed to have the conservative Armenian community revolutionized and tolerate nudists, anarchists and punks. It’s easy to have it on the canvas: there is no need for revolution and struggle, and Grigoryan realizes the dream for freedom in the Armenian surrounding making those things compatible."

For more about artist and his work, read ArmeniaNow here

*pictures via

Wednesday 26 September 2007

OSCE: Hate Crimes Report

By no means could this report be considered a comprehensive. Reporting and recording hate crime is never an easy task. "Most countries lack accurate data about the nature and extent of hate crimes. This is often compounded by an absence of legislation specifically on hate crimes, making it difficult to prosecute such cases." However, it is a good indication that hate crimes will be taken more seriously. Although this report focuses on 2006, it contains earlier and more recent references too.

Only 5 countries did not respond to the call to submit information for inclusion in this report: Kyrgyzstan, San Marino, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and... Armenia.

However, there are news on some positive developments in this area in Armenia too. A report on homophobic incidents and hate crimes in Armenia has been finilised and soon will be published by WFCE NGO. I look forward to reading it. It could potentially serve a good basis for further and continuous work in this direction, involving, along with homophobia, other types of hate crimes too.

Full OSCE Report on Hate Crimes can be accessed here

Definition of a hate crime

The ODIHR [Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] has developed a working definition of hate crime that can be used across the OSCE region to reflect the diversity of victims targeted. A hate crime can be defined as:

(A) Any criminal offence, including offences against persons or property, where the victim, premises, or target of the offence are selected because of their real or perceived connection, attachment, affiliation, support, or membership of a group as defined in Part B.

(B) A group may be based upon a characteristic common to its members, such as real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or other similar factor.

This working definition takes national differences into account, such as differences in legislation, resources, approach and needs, and thus allows each state to amend the definition as it sees fit.


(selected extracts from the Report)

*On 26 August, fans of the Khazar-Lankaran football club harassed a goalkeeper of the Baku club who was of Senegalese origin by chanting racist slogans and throwing objects onto the pitch during a national championship match. The Disciplinary Committee of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan reportedly fined the club the equivalent of 9,000 euros for the incident. [this is apparently the only incident reported by Azerbaijan]

*In Georgia, on 2 November, about 50 people, including secondary-school teachers and pupils, gathered in front of a building belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses and attacked it with stones. The organizer of the incident, who had already committed similar criminal acts against Jehovah’s Witnesses in the past, was jailed.

*During the reporting period, the religious extremist group David Agmashenebeli Society of Orthodox Parish Protesters organized a protest in front of a building assumed to belong to the Catholic Church. The group used anti-Catholic slogans describing Catholics in abusive and offensive language. In a separate event, a Catholic priest experienced physical and verbal abuse during the presentation of a newly released book at the National Library of Georgia. During the event, members of the David Agmashenebeli Society even forced the priest to say he was an Orthodox Christian.

*Explicit instructions for racist attacks on particular individuals in Russia were found on the websites of skinhead groups throughout the year. Some 150 active racist and extremist sites were reportedly maintained on, an Internet portal.

LGBT-related hate crimes

There is relatively large section on homophobic hate crimes (in particular, pages 51-56 and page 74).

(selected extracts)

*Numerous hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBT) occurred in the OSCE region in 2006. Homophobic and transphobic incidents and crimes targeting LGBT people are believed to be among the most underreported and under-documented, and the perpetrators of such crimes often go unpunished.

*The problem of underreporting and under-documentation can partly be explained by the fact that, out of 56 participating States, only 10 have reported to the ODIHR that they include sexual orientation as grounds for bias and/or an aggravating circumstance within their national hatecrime legislation.

*Homophobic attitudes among law enforcement staff and the belief that reported incidents will not be handled seriously and only lead to a forced “coming out” to family, friends, and colleagues are among the main reasons that victims of homophobic and transphobic crimes and incidents do not report and document their case with the police.

*Homophobic hate crimes and incidents often show a high degree of cruelty and brutality. They are also very likely to result in death. Transgender people seem to be even more vulnerable within this category.

*Media and political discourse have served to heighten hostility and intolerance, as well as to incite violence against LGBT communities in some cases. The main trend that could be identified in 2006 was that leading politicians and public figures, sometimes in positions dealing with antidiscrimination, protecting human rights, and promoting tolerance, were among those engaging in intolerant discourse towards LGBTs.

*Homophobic and transphobic incidents and hate crimes in 2006 were reported to, or identified by, the ODIHR with respect to, among others, Austria, Belarus, Croatia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It should also be noted that two OSCE participating States (Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) criminalize consenting same-sex acts between adults.

*In Georgia, the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration stated in an interview that “a mass change of sexual orientation could be more harmful than our youth embarking on the road to organized crime”.

*In the Russian Federation, an online poll among 35,000 users of the website showed that 26.5 per cent of respondents claimed to have suffered from physical violence due to their sexual orientation at least once, whereas almost 40 per cent said they had suffered from threats, blackmail, and psychological pressure. The percentages for provincial towns are higher than for Moscow.

Monday 24 September 2007

Ahmadinejad: "No homosexuals in Iran"

Today, in a speech at a top US university in NY, asked about hostile treatment against homosexuals, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that 'there are no gays in Iran':

"In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you that we have it."

Of course, you "don't have" homosexuals:

Saturday 22 September 2007

Personal style

Personal style isn’t about buying the trendiest labels or most expensive suits. It’s about establishing a look that’s all yours and sticking with it.


Gay World Cup 2007

*International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA)

The opening ceremony for this week-long event, supported by FIFA, local and state authorities, will take place on 23 September 2007, in Buenos Aires (Argentina). It is the first time in the tournament's 16-year history that Latin American country has hosted the World Championship of gay and lesbian fooball teams. The choice of Argentina is not a random one. Besides brilliant football traditions, it is the only Latin American country where same-sex civil partnerships (aka marriage) are permitted.

Reuters reports that "twenty-eight teams, many representing cities in Europe, the United States, Australia and Latin America, as opposed to countries, will play in the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association's competition."

"If gay-lesbian soccer exists it's because gays and lesbians can't play the sport without suffering discrimination," said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Argentine Homosexual Community gay advocacy group. "The sports world is very homophobic, very discriminatory and soccer is a prime example... That's exactly why these championships were born," he said.

London will host the 2008 IGLFA World Championship (24-30 August).

No reports on Armenian participation... as yet.

Saturday 15 September 2007

"...But Armenians aren't gay"

Here are some bits from very recent observations of Armenia by one bisexual foreigner who happened to know too many languages.

His first day impression of Yerevan was that "Both the men and the women here are HOT. Perhaps even HAWT. It's a bisexual dreamland, rendering the language well worth learning." While it is almost amusing to read of Armenia as 'bisexual paradise', I bet for locals, gay, bi or straight, it would be very hard to picture it as such. Not that I am rejecting the possibility or fact... It's just when we think of 'paradise', we think of something open, wide, filled with love and tolerance... may be a bit boring... I'd love to think of Armenians as 'hot'. Actually, when they are hot, they are HOT. The taste of unknown, risk and pretty much underground nature has its own appeal and thrill, but only for some time. When it's becoming a norm, it's becoming a serious pain in the ass... I'll stop myself here.

At the end of his trip, waiting for Yerevan -Paris transit flight, on the way to DC, he evidenced more typical, weird, at times painfully hilarious things:

"I entered the airport and passed through an interminable line to get to the ticket counter. After getting my boarding pass, I made my way to the checking line. I heard a voice calling out in Russian "Does anyone here speak English?" at which point I walked up and volunteered. I was then asked to interpret for an American male whom a border officer apparently needed to ask about his trip.

Here's the exchange that happened between them:

Russian border officer: What is your business in Armenia?
American flyer: I wasn't on business, I'm just here to visit my boyfriend.
Border officer: What do you mean by "boyfriend?"
American: My romantic partner. I'm gay.
Border officer: (Scrunching his face in fairly obvious disgust) But Armenians aren't gay.
American: Well, he's Armenian and gay.
Officer: (Proceeds to ask lots of invasive and personal questions.)

At this point I was positively LIVID. But he eventually let the American pass. He then turned to me, since I was next. He looked at my blue American passport and asked me why I spoke Russian, to which I replied that I learned it in my early teens in order to read Dostoyevsky and Pushkin. He refused to believe me (as if that were so fucking impossible!) and said that my passport looked fake (which, of course, it isn't.) I demanded that he tell me what, exactly, was fake about it and he got indignant, saying that I had no right to tell him how to do his job, and that I looked Georgian. He then asked me what my real name was (apparently because the name on the passport was too American-looking.) I said that I was prepared to stand there till judgement day while he ran whatever checks on my passport he deemed satisfactory. Oddly enough, he then simply snorted and tossed my passport back at me with a stamp through the booth, saying that it was my right to abandon my people if I wished. What a weird fuckwad.

If any of my readers familiar with the former USSR know why this happened, I'd be greatly indebted.

...The only saving grace was the voluptuous and flirtatious half-Iranian, half-Armenian flight attendant who spoke French with an accent to die for.)..."

Monday 10 September 2007

Neo-nazi in Israel. A call for actions in Armenia

Israeli police have broken up a gang of neo-nazi who are accused of carrying out attacks on foreigners, gay people, the homeless, drug addicts and religious Jews.

It is hard to believe that a group of Jewish neo-nazi may exist, but shocking weekend news proved seemingly impossible. What an irony! A group of neo-nazi in a country which was founded in the wake of Nazi Holocaust!

This should have implications for Armenia too, taking into account recent resurgence of hate graffiti and other signs of intolerance.

For more details, see Unzipped

Sunday 9 September 2007

Teenage boy who gave Nureyev the first lesson in gay sex

Fascinating reading from biography of one of the world's greatest dancers - Rudolf Nureyev

Vadim Kiselev was a young ballet fan who first spotted Nureyev throwing snowballs. “Even then I could see the beautiful catlike plasticity of his movements.”

Five years older than Nureyev, with wavy blond hair and Cupid’s-bow lips, Kiselev was “an exotic” by Leningrad standards, one of a coterie of homosexual friends who, he says, were already aware of Nureyev’s true sexual orientation. “We understood that his volatility came about partly as a result of this.”

One night Kiselev invited Nureyev to his apartment. With seduction in mind, he had bought a bottle of Armenian cognac and 200 grams of caviar, which he served on bone china. But the evening did not go according to plan.

His delicate sensibilities already affronted by the young Tatar’s gross table manners, Kiselev then found his advances rudely repelled. They parted “almost enemies”, and had no further contact until Nureyev turned up one day, saying: “I think I offended you.” He apologised, and while continuing to flirt with Kiselev (addressing him as “Adonis”), resumed an acquaintance free of sexual ties.

*A teenage Rudik displaying his innate, unconfined elevation in an Ufa, capital of Bashkiria (Russia), ballet studio

He was not yet willing to consider male love as an option for himself. (Years later he told a lover in London that when he had found himself attracted to a boy on a Leningrad bus he had felt so ashamed that he got off at the next stop.)

When Nureyev met Teja Kremke, however, his attitude changed. Not only that, their relationship would lead to his defection from the Soviet Union.

Teja was a 17-year-old East German boy with an erotic presence as visible as a heat haze. A student at the Vaganova ballet school, he had shiny chestnut hair, pale skin, full lips and intense grey-blue eyes.

He was invited to the apartment of his teacher Alexander Pushkin, where Nureyev – already a star with the Kirov Ballet – still lived. Pushkin’s wife Xenia, who had already seduced Nureyev, was instinctively drawn to this beautiful youth. She adopted him as a new protégé, shaping his thoughts and tastes. Pushkin, whom Teja worshipped, soon became a father figure for him, too. A deep bond developed among all four. “It was a liaison à quatre. They were kind of bound together,” said a friend of the Pushkins.

Like Nureyev, Teja had no interest in contemporary politics but hated the constraints of communism. One evening they were talking in the Vaganova student kitchen while Ute Mitreuter, another East German, was brewing coffee.

She remembered: “Teja was telling Rudolf that he should go to the West. ‘There you’ll be the greatest dancer in the world,’ he said. ‘But if you stay here you’ll be known only to the Russians’.” “‘Yes of course I know that,’ answered Rudolf. ‘It’s how Nijinsky became a legend. And I’m going to be the next one’.”

Teja confided to his sister that he and Nureyev had become blood brothers, cutting themselves to mingle their blood. But their growing intimacy was too risky to reveal to anyone at the school, even to Mitreuter, to whom Teja had always confided his sexual history in the past.

“Teja talked to me about all the things he did with girls. There were many of them who were mad about him. I heard he was a very good lover and that’s why I didn’t think there was anything more than a friendship between him and Rudolf. It was only later that I knew it was a love affair.”

Teja had been only 12 when he was seduced by a 35-year-old woman, an encounter that left him with a far from conventional sexual outlook. At school he had been caught in the shower with a boy. (In the mid-Sixties he would persuade his adoring Indonesian child-wife to live in a ménage à trois with a beautiful Aryan youth with whom he was having an affair.)

“Teja was always open to new experience,” said someone who knew him at the time. “There was a perverse strain in his character. Something other people didn’t find normal was very exciting to him.”

When Konstantin Russu, another student from East Germany, went to the ballet school shower room one day, he found that Nureyev and Teja had locked themselves in and were refusing to open the door. It confirmed what he had suspected for some time: often, when he came back in the evening to the room he shared with Teja, he had seen Nureyev climbing out of the window. (Nureyev would one day tell a mutual friend that it was Teja who first taught him “the art of male love”.)

At the same time, Teja was constantly goading Nureyev to leave Russia.

“He’d say, ‘Go! Get out! At the first opportunity you have. Don’t stay here or no one will hear of you!’” said their friend.

Earlier in the winter of 1960 Janine Ringuet, a 20-year-old assistant impresario who worked for a Parisian organisation specialising in artistic exchanges between France and the Soviet Union, came to Leningrad for several weeks to observe the Kirov Ballet. She reported back that Nureyev, almost unknown in the West, was “the best male dancer in the world”. He was engaged for a Kirov visit to Paris.

Only days before he was due to leave, Nureyev and a colleague were taken before the special committee responsible for vetting dancers for the tour. Why, the KGB officer chairing it demanded, had neither of them joined the Komsomol, the young communist organisation?

“Because I’ve far more important things to do with my time than waste it on that kind of rubbish!” exclaimed Nureyev impulsively.

He got away with it but it was clear he had to leave. “In Russia,” he later told a friend, “I did not belong to myself. I had a feeling that I had a big talent which people would recognise anywhere.”
It was hard for Nureyev to accept that his dream of seeing Europe was about to be realised. His defection was “prepared inside”, but he felt that he needed to gauge the reaction of his friends. During a long walk with one of them a few days before his departure, he asked: “What would you think if I stayed in the West?”

The friend reminded him of the lifestyle he loved and would be leaving behind – Leningrad’s “kitchen culture’, where a gathering of friends around a table had come to mean more to him than his family.

But Nureyev felt increasingly trapped at the Pushkins’ apartment. Now that Xenia could see how much of a hold Teja had on him, she had reverted to being jealous and contentious, going out of her way to cause trouble between them. But at the same time she found herself involuntarily attracted to Teja.

If Rudolf sensed the growing sexual chemistry between them he would have felt the kind of distaste and disenchantment experienced by Chinko Rafique, a student taken up by the Pushkins a decade later: “Xenia was predatory. She was sexually predatory.”

Liuba Romankova, Nureyev’s close friend, has always believed that his involvement with Xenia was a key reason why he “escaped to the West”. Ninel Kurgapkina, a Kirov dancer and confidante, agrees that it was a situation from which he badly wanted to extricate himself. “He was not very proud when he talked of Xenia. He didn’t feel good thinking about her.”

But even more of an incentive to leave Russia was the realisation that he would never be free to follow his true sexual instincts while he was there. As he said himself: “I did not have the possibility of choosing my friends according to my taste. It was as if someone battered me morally. I was very unhappy.”

*Rudik sits on his suitcase for a moment. It is an old Russian superstition.

Teja stayed in Russia. Even a decade later, Pushkin remained afraid that he would have the same malign influence on the budding new star Mikhail Baryshnikov as he had had on Nureyev. If Teja happened to drop in, Pushkin would usher the young Baryshnikov into another room, keeping him hidden until the East German had left. Baryshnikov nonetheless defected.

*The Sunday Times

Saturday 8 September 2007

Declaration of civil society organisations on the recognition of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the OSCE

This Declaration will be presented within the framework of the next meeting of the Human Dimension of OSCE, in Warsaw (24 September 2007–5 October 2007)

We, the undersigned representatives of civil society, call upon the OSCE participating states to recognise sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression explicitly as grounds of discrimination, intolerance, hate-motivated crimes and human rights violations in the OSCE commitments.

There is substantial evidence that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are especially vulnerable to hate crimes, and therefore have a particular need to be included in programmes addressing this issue. We therefore commend the inclusive and comprehensive approach of ODIHR [Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] in its work on hate crimes, data collection, police trainings, which includes awareness raising and promotion of measures to fight discrimination on all grounds. We call upon the OSCE participating states to continue supporting this work and provide adequate resources.

We recall the participating states of their obligation under various international treaties and national constitutions to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of all persons without discrimination. It is therefore our great concern that the OSCE participating states do not have a consensus on interpretation of “all people” and exclude certain social groups from exercising their human rights, such as the right to life and physical integrity, freedom of assembly and association, right to private life, and freedom of expression. These rights, if protected, ensure the dignity of all people, and there can be no justification for exclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from enjoyment of these rights.

Signed by:

European Social Platform
Human Rights First, USA
International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE)
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, USA
European Women’s Lobby
European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe)
Amnesty International EU Office
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
NGO Platform “Coalition Europe”
European Humanist Federation
European Network Against Racism (ENAR)
European Organisation for Human Rights (EHOR), Strasbourg
European Roma Rights Centre
Youth for Human Rights International, USA and Austria
Quaker Council for European Affairs
World Organisation Against Torture – Europe (OMCT Europe)
European Anti-Poverty Network
Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Switzerland
Ascedent, Romania
OSCE-NGO Network
Conseil de la Jeunesse Pluriculturelle (COJEP International)
Organisation Sociale de St. Petersburg «Union Africaine», Russia
Jewish Cultural Centre “Menora”, Armenia

Roma Education Fund, Hungary
Romo Amaro, Belarus
Memorial of Saint Petersburg, Russia
Spanish LGBT Federation (FELGBT)
Movimiento contra la Intolerancia, Spain
The Islamic Commission of Spain
GlobalSIDA, Spain
SOS Rassismus Deutschewerz, Switzerland
Swiss African Forum, Switzerland
RFSL, Sweden
Campaign Against Homophobia, Poland
Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Georgia
NGO Nash Mir (Our World), Ukraine
Coalition of HIV-Service Organisations of Ukraine
Information Centre GenderDoc-M, Moldova
National Roma Centre, Moldova
LADOM (Moldovan League for Human Rights Protection), Moldova
National Youth Council of Moldova
NGO Labrys, Kyrgyzstan
NGO Gaudeamus, Moldova
AntiAIDS Association, Kyrgyzstan
Resource Centre for Human Rights in Moldova “CReDO”, Moldova
Association ACCEPT, Romania
Centre for Legal Resources, Romania
Metropolitan Community Churches, USA
Crisis Centre for Women, Kyrgyzstan
Inclusive Foundation, Georgia
NGO “We for Civil Equality”, Armenia

NGO “Gender and Development”, Azerbaijan
Ursari Roma Association, Romania
NGO “LIGA”, Ukraine
Gay Forum, Ukraine
Latvian Centre for Human Rights. Latvia
NGO LBL, Denmark
Institute for Peace and Democracy, Azerbaijan
Gay Alliance, Ukraine
SOVA Centre, Moscow, Russia
Magenta Foundation, the Netherlands
African Caribbean Leadership Council, London, UK
“Never Again” Association, Poland
AIDS Network, Moldova
Youth Union Siin, Estonia
Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien, Austria
Lesben und Schwulenverband Osterreichs, Austria
Croydon Area Gay Society, UK
Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Ireland
Helsinki Human Rights Committee for Serbia
Women’s Initiative for Equality, Georgia
NGO ADALI, Kazakhstan
NGO “Tais +”, Kyrgyzstan
Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group, Georgia
Donetsk Law Initiative, Ukraine
All-Ukrainian Youth Organisation “Foundation of Regional Initiatives”, Ukraine
Youth Organisation “Bizim Qirim”, Crimea, Ukraine
TV Antena 1, Romania
Alianta Nationala pentru Unitatea Romilor (National Roma Unity Alliance), Romania
Association of Nordic LGBT Student Organisations (ANSO), Sweden
The Federation of Swedish LGBT Student Organisations (SFG), Sweden
Youth Group for Tolerance “ETHnICS”, Russia
Open Viewpoint Public Foundation, Kyrgyzstan
NGO “Transformation”, Sweden
Gender Group of Gothenburg University, Sweden
International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC), UK
Union “Century 21”, Georgia
Canadian Arab Federation
Kulturburo Sachsen (Cultural Office), Germany
Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI)
Youth Against Intolerance and Discrimination, Georgia
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Advocates for Lesbian and Gay Rights International (ALEGRI), UK
LSVD, Germany
Qendra per Emancipim Shoqeror (Center for Social Emancipation) QESh, Kosovo
The Human Rights Centre of Azerbaijan
Democracy Monitor, Azerbaijan

Malta Gay Rights Movement, Malta
COC Haaglanden, the Netherlands
Informational Medical-Psychological Centre Tanadgoma, Georgia
ILGA Portugal
International Gay and Lesbian Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO)
YouAct, the Netherlands
GAT - Grupo Português de Activistas sobre Tratamentos do VIH/SIDA, Portugal
The Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG)
National Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Centers, USA
RFSL Ungdom - The Swedish youth federation for LGBT rights, Sweden
Hudson Pride Connections, USA
The National Council of German Women's Organizations, Germany
Centre for Legal Resources, Romania
ALEAS Izquierda Unida La Rioja (Spain)

*source: ALEAS IU Rioja

The term "human dimension" describes the set of norms and activities related to human rights, the rule of law, and democracy that are regarded within the OSCE as one of the three pillars of its comprehensive security concept, along with the politico-military and the economic and environmental dimensions.

Every year in Warsaw, the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) organizes a two-week conference, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM). The HDIM is a forum where OSCE participating States discuss the implementation of human dimension commitments that were adopted by consensus at prior OSCE Summits or Ministerial Meetings.

These commitments are not legally binding norms; instead, they are politically binding - a political promise to comply with the standards elaborated in OSCE documents. Follow-up meetings to review the implementation of the commitments are based on the principle that the commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and do not belong exclusively to the internal affairs of the state concerned.

*for more info about ODIHR and Human Dimension of OSCE, see here

Friday 7 September 2007

Georgia Gay Guide

country overview, useful info, gay institutions and venues

*last reviewed: 18 July 2010

As I already mentioned on this blog, even though homophobia is widespread in Georgian society, the attitude towards gay people in Georgia, especially Tbilisi, is more open-minded and gay scene is more developed than in surrounding countries. This was rightly pointed out by Spartacus International Gay Guide (2007). In fact, Georgia was the first country in South Caucasus to decriminalise gay male sex in 2000.

However, recent events in Georgia (here and here) surrounding failed attempts by Council of Europe to promote "All Different - All Equal" campaign which was considered by some as 'gay rally' and, therefore, forced to get cancelled, show that Georgia has a long way to go in terms of human rights / gay rights and equality.

For more Georgia related news and posts, click on Georgia or Tbilisi labels.

I decided to publish this Guide on my blog since the on-line resources on LGBT life and gay scene in Georgia are scarce. There is a sizable Armenian community there, and many gay Armenians visit neighbouring Georgia for various reasons.

Unlike Armenia (Armenia Gay Guide), I do not have much personal insight into the gay scene in Georgia. This Guide represent mainly the information taken from the Spartacus (+ Gay Batumi), with some input/additions from me. I will update this Guide as soon as I learn new info. For convenience, I put easy access link to Georgia Gay Guide under 'South Caucasus LGBT Links' of this blog.

Country overview

"Even under the Soviet Union, Georgia was known to be one of the "gayest" regions. However, a gay scene in the western sense of the word hardly exists. Even in the capital Tbilisi the venues that are listed in this guide are mixed, but they are popular with the community as well. Gay behaviour like holding hands and kissing is accepted in the larger cities only [I would be particularly cautious with this suggestion by Spartacus - even in larger cities you may encounter more than problems with the open display of same-sex affections. As in case of Armenia, although you will see men (and women) holding each other's hands in public or kissing each other when they meet or part, this is not necessarily an indicator of sexual orientation but rather established tradition].

On the other hand, gay related violence still exists, notably in the countryside. In September 2001 a journalist was killed by the mafia because of his alleged homosexuality. We also advise to be cautious with cruising: most of the areas in this guide are observed by police cameras. The recordings are said to be used to force gays to work for the police. Unfortunately, the current government has more urgent matters to deal with than the acceptance of sexual minorities."



Street: 3, Vashvlovanis Street
Description of Location: In Perovskaia district
Commentary: Once very stylish place, nowadays casual cruising bar, frequently visited by straight people.

Street: 18, G.Akhvlediani Street
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: Former Perovskaia St.
Phone: 93 53 83
Commentary: DJ bar, with very friendly staff and visitors. Open until the early morning.


Cafe Cala
Street: 8-10, Erekle II Street
Postal Code: 0107
Description of Location: In Chardin area
Commentary: Good Georgian food, many artistic people hanging out, live jazz performances, frequented by gay people.

Le Cafe
Street: 4, Vashlovani Street
Description of Location: Opposite the Success bar in Perovskaia district
Commentary: Quiet place with European cuisine. Friendly staff.

Rue Chardin 12
Street: 12, Chardin Street
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: In old town Chardin area
Commentary: One of the most popular dining out places. A place to sit and be seen in the heart of old town. The smallest street in Tbilisi is home for number of upscale places that attract many community people. One can also find many other cafes in this area.


Street: 2, Right Bank
Postal Code: 0108
Description of Location: In Chardin area
Phone: (reservations) 32 30 30 30
Commentary: Upscale restaurant, very friendly. Offers traditional and fusion cuisine. Has chillout section with Kalian.

Street: 8-10 Chekhov st. (On the left bank of old town)
Phone: (reservations) 995 32 77 55 20
Commentary: Belle-view terrace. Hotel restaurant with extensive menu and good service. Tarace offers one of the best views of old town.


Coloured Bathhouse
Street: Square in front of the Sulphur Springs
Description of Location: In Abanotubani (Bath district)
Opening hours: 10-20h
Commentary: Number of traditional bathhouses with natural sulphur spa. Traditional massage and scrub with traditional gloves (Kisa). Public section is very cruisy especially by evenings. People basically pick up each other and leave together. For more discreet acts one can rent a cubicle. Coloured baths were favourite of A. Pushkin and A. Dumas.

Fitness Studios

Vake Fitness
Street: 49b, Chavchavadze Avenue
Commentary: Huge fitness complex with gym, olympic swimming pool, spa, sauna, gymnastics, solarium etc. Upscale workout place.


Sheraton Metekhi Palace
Street: 20, Telavi Street
Postal Code: 0119
Phone: 77 20 20
Fax: 77 21 20
Commentary: Luxury hotel with 182 rooms with data port, safe, TV, phone, mini-bar and bathroom phone. Cruisy sauna.

Marriott Tbilisi
Street: 13, Rustaveli Ave.
Phone: 77 92 00
Commentary: 5 stars luxury hotel.

- Underpass in front of the circus (dangerous)
- Rustaveli Ave. daytime cruising.
- Central station (Metro Vagzliss Moedani)
- Tchelouskin bridge (In the centre of the city, between central station and the
- Blumentrasse (Boulevard between central station and the circus)
- Underpass in front of the circus (Dangerous)
- Pushkin park (Metro Thavisouphlebis Moedani)
- Exit Metro Rustaveli
- Baratachvili bridge (first level, Mutual masturbations, Piss and Scat)
- Between Liberty Square, “Thavisouphlebis Moedani” and Avlabari street
- Metro Issani (near the military barracks, ideal for those who like soldiers)


Batumi gay life is most active during high summer season. There are no dedicated gay bars or clubs in Batumi, but most of them (especially on a boulevard) are gay friendly.

- Alley between boulevard and beach (the best)
- Beach close to the lighthouse in pishcheviki area
- Around old railway station



Theatralouri (opposite the National Theatre)

- Park opposite the National Theatre


- Lenin park

National Groups

Inclusive Foundation (in English and Georgian)
The first openly LGBT rights organisation in Georgia and in South Caucasus, ILGA member. Main areas of work is advocacy and lobbying information and public awareness campaigns, study and research, empowerment of LGBT community, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention.

National publications

"Me" magazine (quarterly; in Georgian, with English summary)
Available to download here

Georgian National Gay Resource (in Georgian)

Other useful links:

ILGA-Europe: Georgia Country Guide

Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
Advocacy, lobbying, individual legal counselling, surveys

Information and Counselling Centre "Tanadgoma"
Psychological and health counselling, HIV/AIDS/STI prevention measures, surveys

Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC)
Organisational development, trainings for organisation staff and volunteers

Women Initiative Support Group (WISG)
Women programme, surveys

*source of pictures: Spartacus (cover page); Lonely Planet (map of Georgia); Wikipedia (flag of Georgia)

Thursday 6 September 2007

anti-Quote of The Day

This is just hilarious. I would not normally waste my or anyone else's time to read 'defending marriage' (read homophobic) publications from the National Catholic Register (never heard about its existence before), but this quote taken from their editorial is just too 'good' to miss:

"Doctors advertise heavily in homosexual publications, because male homosexual sex routinely injures its participants."
National Catholic Register (USA)

No comments indeed... I just can't help myself but wonder what sort of gay publications full of doctors' adverts these religious guys read?

Monday 3 September 2007

First hate comment for this blog

Unzipped: Gay Armenia

Today I received the first ever hateful comment for this blog. It was made by ‘anonymous’ in relation to re-publishing Hetq article with my commentary. I decided to publish this comment here as a separate post, without any moderation, for the first and the last time:


Just to make my point clear to all you hateful out there. This blog is open to opinions, however controversial they may be. However, there is ZERO TOLERANCE policy to hate in this blog. Do not even bother, all hateful comments will be trashed and certainly not published. If someone wishes death to someone else, the talks about "Christian Identity" sound as pure rubbish. I can't hear you...