The initiative group of the public movement “For the Survival of the Rioni Gorge” issued a statement today stating that the idea of ”Tbilisi Pride” week is unequivocally propaganda of a non-traditional way of life, contrary to public opinion, expresses only the narrow interests of a certain group and is directed against civic unity.
This statement received attention on social media. Queer activist Natia Gvianishvili points out that this statement, first of all, poses a threat to the people who take part in the rallies organized by this movement and at the same time are members of the queer community. She addresses the initiative group:
”In general, it is not necessary for a person (and a group of people) to express an opinion on everything, it is unfortunate that you followed this tendency. It is unfortunate that you have spread such a statement that breaks the hearts (to put it mildly) of many people who have supported you and still do. You also probably do not realize that this statement is a direct threat to the people who come to your protests. It is very, very unfortunate that the need for political speculation has outweighed humanity.
However, for me as a queer person this statement doesn’t change much for me(I am just talking about myself here). The HPP should not be built. The state must come out of a self-colonized state where the investor (and the government’s thickened pockets) is at the forefront, and no one cares about the fate of the people. Meanwhile, some people are lecturing on market freedom. It does not work, my friends. It must end. This applies to anyone who breathes poison instead of air and eats in the ecological environment created by these “investments”. Accordingly, I support the Rioni Valley guards and the work they are doing.
It is also not a new take, and this statement once again showed that we, LGBTQ people, are the material of political speculation and blackmail (correctly written in the statement, but not completely right angle) for all other groups in society – whether we like it or not, everyone draws the line on us. Will it be a circus-like politician like Iago Khvichia who contradicts himself (he apparently doesn’t like activists) or movements like Rioni Valley guards, or the government that is trying to score points or a church that is increasing their public support at our expense. I do not know what exactly was behind this statement, or the history of its writing, but it is also not lost on me that many good people are involved in this movement and I have personally heard stories of their support for queers. There is nothing black or white. People can not change their attitudes in 5 minutes about things they were taught for decades. The work has to go on. But that statement hurts. Very much.”
Tamar Jakeli, another activist for the “Survival of the Rioni Valley”, a queer and green activist, expresses her concern about the problems members of the queer community will face because of this statement.
”I am heartbroken after your statement and I am surprised. Last year, out of all the problems we faced, the topic of Namakhvani HPP was the most pressing. I cared about it more than my own oppression, more than my own identity. I did everything to help you. I was with you for five days in my own tent and I was going to visit again. I will never forget the days and nights of Gumati.
Everyone was friendly towards me, I met a lot of interesting people. I love you, I really love you. So it hurts a hundred times more. Of course, I did not even expect you to support Pride. Nor was it necessary to make any statement. Do you know what you support with your statement? That on July 5, LGBTQ people will be attacked even more, stones will be thrown at us with more intent. But I know that you are pure and peaceful in heart. Ms. Macka first convinced me that there could be a place for me in the Christian faith when she uttered the most tolerant, most amazing words. You were wrong, you were very wrong. Why, I do not know. I’m really surprised. I will be in solidarity with your protest – this is a struggle that all citizens of Georgia face. However, it hurts me that because of your wrong statement, my friends and I will be under more threat ” – Tamar Jakeli wrote.