Tsabunia Vartagava – I am Also Here!

“Facebook reminded me of 17th May of 2013. I am posting this while being incredibly angry, because the only way out of this is a massive coming out. Back then the LGBT issues were new for me. Neither did I have any theoretical information, nor did I know what a strong destructive force homophobia is, and how painful coming out might be, which as it turns out is a permanent, not a one-time act. It has been 8 years since then and I have acquired much theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Many of my opinions changed, however, just like the old Tsabunia, I still believe, that public space belongs to every person. Everyone should be able to come out, protest and say – I am Also Here!

I am going to the solidarity march just like I went to every other public gathering that concerned LGBT rights. The freedom of speech of my friends and myself is important for me, since it is one of the most basic human rights. Additionally, I want those community members that live in further districts, small cities and villages to see that they are not alone and there are many others just like them.

Pride should be a day of celebration – a day of victory over hatred and oppression, but we do not have this reality in Georgia yet. The reality is that we have to fight for our basic rights and to prove that the country equally belongs to everyone. This is exactly what this year’s Pride stands for from my point of view – a fight for rights and being each other’s allies in this fight, because we have more in common than we think – we live in the same country, obey the same laws (or don’t obey them), share the same social-economic status, are victims of the same stereotypes. It is because of these experiences that we need to be able to see each other’s challenges and fight together to overcome them.

I expect that all people who think that LGBT rights are human rights and think that some people have this right unjustly restricted, will come, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, political taste or other differences.

We must remember that as long as the rights of even one person are restricted, we will never be able to build a democratic state, we will not be able to create a worthy present and future.”

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