International Community Calls for Support of LGBTQI+ Persons in Georgia

In acknowledgement of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), the international community is calling for an end to violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community in Georgia and expresses its solidarity and support.

The joint statement was issued on Friday, May 17th, by the United Nations Resident Coordinator; the Ambassadors of the European Union (EU), Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; the Head of Mission of the United States; and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia.

The statement notes that there has been some progress on the issue in recent years; namely, stronger international legal commitments and the creation of a human rights department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

However, the everyday reality for the queer community has not changed significantly, and “these guarantees largely remain on paper,” the statement reads. “LGBTQI+ persons face discrimination, hate speech, and physical abuse, which violate their rights, deprive them of dignity, and push them to the margins of society.”

These “troubling” trends, the international community expressed, “run counter to Georgia’s traditions of tolerance.”

“We thus urge Georgian leaders to take resolute action to ensure that the equality guaranteed in law is realized in practice, so that every person in the country, including LGBTQI+ persons, can exercise their rights. In this context, we note that cultural, religious and moral beliefs – even if held by a majority – can never be an excuse for tolerating human rights violations,” the statement continues.

The community calls for a comprehensive strategy to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as greater protection of the right to freedom of expression and assembly.

The LGBTQI+ community in Georgia has not announced any events to commemorate IDAHOTB this year. After IDAHOTB celebrators were violently attacked by mobs and Orthodox Priests in 2013, the community cancelled rallies for the following three years.

May 17th is also Family Purity Day, a holiday established by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014 in response to IDAHOTB. This May 17th, the Orthodox Church will hold its annual march and has also organized a concert.

“We note that this event is peaceful and it does not have aim at any kind of aggression. It is the expression of our community's support towards traditional values. The Church is distancing itself from any kinds of violence,” the Patriarchate’s statement reads.


By Lucy Papachristou
Photo Source: Wikipedia
17 May 2019 18:13