On 25 April UN held a Gender Theme Meeting in Tbilisi that was devoted to key challenges for LGBT activism in Georgia. This time the meeting was facilitated by Sara Laginder, Kvinna till Kvinna’s field representative in the South Caucasus region. The Gender Team Group (GTG) meeting was attended by different donor foundations working in Georgia.
Key objectives of the meeting were to familiarize the GTG with the issues and challenges faced by LGBT communities and activists in Georgia; secure support from the GTG for the International Day of Homophobia and Transphopbia (IDAHO) events foreseen around 17 May through statements, participation, mentioning the events with relevant government officials to ensure political support and security of the participants, and to identify some entry points and opportunities for further partnership.
Panel presenters of the meeting were Ekaterine Aghdgomelashvili, Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG), which is a partner organization of Kvinna till Kvinna. Ekaterine presented an overview of the existing legal framework in regards to LGBT persons, hate speech, societal homophobia and violence against LGBT persons. Noteworthy that WISG is a pioneer organization that started working on LGBT issues in Caucasus region. Another presenter was Mariam Gagoshashvili, Women’s Fund in Georgia, who presented short history of LGBT activism in Georgia. Mariam talked about main challenges of LGBT people in Georgia, starting from criminalization, further decriminalization of homosexual behavior and hypocrisy. Furthermore, Irakli Vacharadze from Identoba shared their plans for the next International Day of Homophobia and Transphobia and asked all participants to join and support a flash mob that Identoba will organize on 17 May. Moreover, Anna Rekhviashvili, Identoba, presented a research of her colleague – Natia Gvianishvili, who could not attend the meeting. Gvianishvili’s research was about transgender persons in Georgia and the main problems that trans people face.
Finally, the meeting was concluded with the excellent documentary “Mom, dad, I am gay”, directed by Liana Jaqeli, Studio Mobile – Accent on Action. The film shows the processes that happened in May 17, 2012, during the peaceful march dedicated to International Day of Homophobia and Transphopbia (IDAHO), Tbilisi, Georgia. While in parallel scene, several protagonists of the documentary talked about their own experience of being gay in Georgia, coming out process and the challenges that they face because of their gender identity. At the end of the documentary, Liana Jaqeli answered questions from the audience.
GTG meeting devoted to LGBT issues was very important initiative. Different organizations could learn many interesting aspects about the situation of LGBT rights in Georgia.