"In 2013, we tried to organize a great public demonstration to celebrate IDAHO [International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia]. We co-operated with the government but members of the Orthodox Parents’ Union and the Georgian Orthodox Church physically assaulted us. We were one or two hundred people. They were about twenty thousand. Police evacuated us. We risked our lives. No one was punished for that.”
-Natia Gvianishvili, 31, activist and administrator at Women's Initiatives Supporting Group.⠀
3 / 12
"In Georgia it’s very difficult to accept your own identity and to be accepted by others in society. You have to fight for that everyday. You have to assert everyday that you are just like everyone else. You feel the pain, love, and worry like them. Your life is not only about sexual desires. You need the happiness that everyone tries to kill.”
-Gocha Gabodze, 27, blogger and public relations manager.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
4 / 12
“When I first came out I was living in my hometown, Poti. The situation was so hard that I had to run away, because of my father, relatives, and friends. Once, soon after I came out, I was returning home and my neighbour met me at the entrance and threatened me. I locked myself in the room. It is difficult to be gay here and doesn’t matter if you come out. It is always hard to say that you are gay, lesbian or transgender, because the end could be fatal ... with a fight, or an argument.”
-Kako Kvatidze, 21, employee at the Bassiani Club.
5 / 12
"The law that Georgia plans to adopt says that marriage is the relationship between a man and a woman. This is absolutely a discriminatory law. If the constitution says that everyone is equal, where are my rights as an LGBT person?”
-Teimuraz Sabanashvili, 28, independent LGBTQ activist, singer and actor.⠀
6 / 12
"The way Russian propaganda influences media and society is still working, especially on the older generations. But I have to believe in the future and next generations. Many people are coming out. Thanks to internet and social media, we have to built up our self-consciousness.”
-Giorgi Kikonishvili, 29, LGBTQ activist, co-founder of Muzame, an online magazine and columnist at netgazeti.ge, an online news site. ⠀
7 / 12
"I grew up in one of the most homophobic neighbourhoods of Tbilisi. Now I have more self- confidence than during my childhood. I feel free to express love in public places and anyone knows that I am gay, also at work. But the main problem here is the society, I have a lot of friends who are afraid about coming out and continue to hide themselves.”
-Giorgi Tsotskolauri, 30, LGBTQ activist, graphic designer and co-founder of Muzame, an online music magazine.⠀
8 / 12
"Georgian society is aggressive towards transgender people. Over the last few years in Georgia several transgender women have been killed in their homes. They are also experiencing stigma and discrimination. The majority of heterosexual males won't admit that they are friends with gay males. The Church also is against gay people. They consider homosexuality as a sin and illness.”
-Elia Amisulashvili, 27, Tbilisi City blogger.⠀
9 / 12
"As an LGBT person here, you are always in danger. We can't show ourselves in public, over the streets. I can't take public transports with this make-up. I really would love to go out as a normal person but the risks are too much at this time.”
-Giorgi Qistauri, 20, cross-dresser, famous activist and artist.
10 / 12
"I realized that there is a problem not only in the traditional part of society but inside of our community too. Realizing that even some community members are quite homophobic towards each other was a shock for me. After what happened in my last relationship, I decided to become an activist and fighter.”
-Rusa Jijelava, 23, blogger and activist.
11 / 12
"I feel that church here is really powerful and has a huge influence in society. One of my friend old me that in Batumi there is a priest who always reminds during the Mass that “all gay people are kids of devil and they will go to hell”. After the 2013 violence the Georgian Orthodox Church proclaimed 17 of May as the “Family Day". Local LGBTQ people are now afraid to support LGBTQ Day.”
-"Iraki," 27. ⠀⠀
12 / 12
"Most of all the accounts and pages of local LGBT in networks are closed to the public. It’s all for security and safety. To attend the Horoom party you have to apply first, you should bring your passport and you should keep your Facebook page open to let the administration check who you are. For my first time, I was aware about some terror attack. Maybe, it was just my imagination."