State homophobia in Georgia


From the Georgian International Media Centre:

Scapegoating gay people for Georgia‘s crisis

April 24, 2010 by georgiamedia

Elections are meant to be the chance for the people to express their views without fear.

But elections can also be a time of heightened fear and threat: especially for those in a minority in a society in crisis, argues Paata Sabelashvili, president of the Inclusive Foundation – Georgia’s lesbian and gay rights campaign and the only open gay rights organisation in the Caucasus.

Homosexuality is legal in Georgia – but the rights of lesbians, gay men and transgendered people are under attack. Sabelashvili was personally targeted by the police recently, the Inclusive Foundation’s offices raided, staff and clients intimidated and insulted and the office damaged. Arrested on the scene, Sabelashvili says he was only released from prison after he agreed to a plea bargain which saw him admit to a marijuana possession charge.

He says that the drugs charge was a cover for an attack on the Inclusive Foundation that was designed to appease nationalist and conservative forces aligned with the Georgian Orthodox Church’s campaign against gay rights. With the government under pressure in the backwash of the Tea Tutberidze affair and a visible break down of relations with the Patriarch, it may well be that such actions help shore up the government’s support with more conservative voters.

But while the government seems to play both sides in this debate – President Saakashvili has recently been citing his government’s legalisation of homosexuality as a positive step forward, but only to audiences outside Georgia – others see “gay bashing” as a way of winning votes.

In parliament the Christian Democrats have called for homosexuality to be recriminalised (a move that would see Georgia expelled from the Council of Europe) and, as Sabelashvili recounts in the video here, have promoted a scare campaign about gay marriage. Others – such as Malkhaz Gulashvili>, publisher of the Daily Georgian Times and founder of the People’s Orthodox Movement – are campaigning for the same outcome outside parliament.

At the root of much of this, argues Sabelashvili, is the population crisis in Georgia. Using arguments completely discredited in the west, anti-gay campaigners, either out of prejudice or ignorance, claim that homosexuality is like some infection that spreads through the population and so cuts the birth rate. For them it needs to be suppressed.

But, as Sabelashvili says here, the real factor that is cutting the birth rate is the poverty that drives so many young Georgians away from their homeland and leaves them vulnerable when abroad.

From Tert.am in Armenia:

Well-Known Georgian LGBT Organization Raided by Police, Leader Arrested

11:12 • 24.12.09

The office of Inclusive Foundation, a well-known LGBT organization in Tbilisi, Georgia, was raided by plainclothes police officers on December 15, 2009, who, according to a December 23 press release on the organization’s official website, neither provided a search warrant, nor identified themselves or the agency they represented, nor did they explain the purpose of their intrusion.

Members of the LGBT community were present in the office during the raid for a regular meeting of the Women’s Club. According to the press release, the men confiscated cell phones of all those present in the office, did not allow them to contact their families, and made degrading and humiliating remarks. They threatened to take photos of the women and disseminate them to reveal their sexual orientation. They also threatened to ‘kill’ and ‘tear to pieces’ one of the organizers of the Women’s Club if she did not stop demanding a search warrant and police ID.

Paata Sabelashvili, the leader of the organization, was arrested as a result of the raid.

According to information provided by Inclusive Foundation, staff members of the organization are under continuous surveillance. An unidentified car is permanently stationed outside the entrance to the house of one of the staff members.

Full details of the case in the organization’s appeal to the Georgian President, the Public Defender of Georgia, and the Diplomatic Missions accredited in Georgia, as well as international organizations is not yet available.

The appeal is online by now.

See also here.

The governments of both Georgia in the Caucasus and Uganda in Africa are afflicted by rampant homophobia.

Both are also staunch allies of the United States government. Both governments send their subjects as cannon fodder to wars started by George W. Bush: Ugandans to Somalia; Georgians to first Iraq, now Afghanistan. Gay people apparently do not fit in militarist macho culture deemed necessary for sending the cannon fodder; even if those gay people are not inside the military. Hence, the repression.

Quentin Crisp vs. gay rights: here.

Northern Irish anti-gay MP Iris Robinson stands down due to mental illness: here. And here.

British Lib Dems attack Tory voting record on gay rights: here.

British Council Armenia sponsors homophobic radio station: here.

5 thoughts on “State homophobia in Georgia

  1. First gay couple wed in Latin America

    Argentina: Two Argentinian men have been conjoined in Latin America’s first same-sex marriage, travelling to the southern-most tip of the Americas to find a welcoming spot to wed.

    Gay rights activists Jose Maria di Bello and Alex Freyre were married in Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego state, exchanging rings at a civil ceremony witnessed by state and federal officials.

    “My knees didn’t stop shaking,” said Mr di Bello. “We are the first gay couple in Latin America to marry.”

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/84975

  2. The Herald (Harare)

    Published by the government of Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe: President, PM Speak On Gays

    Takunda Maodza

    26 March 2010

    Harare — PRESIDENT Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have strongly condemned efforts to include “gay rights” in the new constitution, saying Zimbabwe will never succumb to shameless foreign traditions.

    Addressing hundreds of people at Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex for belated International Women’s Day celebrations, President Mugabe said the issue of “gay rights” was not even debatable.

    “Zviito zvedzimwe nyika zvava kuda kupinda pakati pedu.

    “KuBritain nana America ndakaona archbishop achitochatisa murume nemurume ndikati, ‘Mai vangu iwe, zvii izvozvo?’

    “I want to see how they will procreate. If they manage, then I will admit that I do not know,” President Mugabe said.

    He added: “Three days ago ndakanzwa kuti nyaya yacho tiizeye paConstitution.

    “Inozeyeka iyoyo nhai Mai Makone? (referring to Public Works Minister Theresa Makone, who was sitting at the high table).

    “Haizeyeki. Kana kuitaura inotaurika sei? Vanozviita tinoti vanopengereka.

    “It is just madness. Insanity. Hatingazviite tinopindukirwa nevakafa. Madzimai mupindire ipapo.”

    President Mugabe said the sanctity of a family revolved around a father, a mother and children.

    “Kana tichitaura nyaya dzemhuri tinotaura zvababa, vana, naamai.

    “If you are doing that (engaging in homosexuality) you are destroying nationhood,” he said.

    President Mugabe has previously described homosexuals as “worse than dogs and pigs”.

    PM Tsvangirai concurred saying: “President mataura nyaya yemagay rights, yevamwe varume vanofemera munzeve dzevamwe varume.

    “Bodo, apowo handibvumirane nazvo. Unogodirei kutsvaga mumwe murume yet vakadzi make up 52 percent (of the population)? Varume titori vashoma,” he said.

    Turning to the commemorations, President Mugabe said Government recognised women’s “significant” role in society and was striving to accord them equality with their male counterparts.

    He said since independence they had worked to address disparities between men and women as evidenced by the number of females now occupying positions of authority in Government and other institutions.

    President Mugabe said Government allocated women farms under the land reform programme as a way of economically empowering them.

    He said some sections of the society, particularly men, were using lobola as an excuse to abuse their wives and claiming women were only good for bearing children.

    The President narrated how his mother, Ambuya Bona Mugabe, raised him after his father deserted the family for Bulawayo following the death of his brother — Michael – from food poisoning in 1934.

    President Mugabe said Ambuya Mugabe not only took care of her children but her stepchildren as well after their father’s death in 1945.

    He bemoaned domestic violence and urged authorities to deal thoroughly with the matter.

    President Mugabe discouraged men from having “small houses”.

    The celebrations were held under the theme “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”.

  3. Pingback: Georgian prison sexual abuse | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s