“Why does anyone think that I’m any different from them? It hasn’t been long since I started observing people, but this short period helped me realize one thing: all of us have a shared center that exists within us. Because of the violent acts committed on 5th of July I wanted to escape the space that I was in, social media, and the aggression that inadvertently attacked the queer community. I was not planning on going to Pride, because I had already had experience of seeing how much the queer community gets hurt, especially those members that do not have any financial leverage.

My friends and I went to a village, escaping the aggression. However, I was always scared that someone would recognize me – that someone would attack member or non-member of the community. I wasn’t wrong – a 56-year-old mother of my friends was harassed because she was wearing colorful clothes; sex-workers cannot work anymore because clients abuse them; A couple I know was attacked in the street.

6 of us, all girls, went to the village. We couldn’t hitchhike because of the news and tense situation. Until then we had always hitchhiked and it has always been risky. We are not protected as women and as members of the LGBTQ+ community. All of us seemed to be exhausted, we did not want to talk about this topic anymore. When we arrived in Qareli we encouraged and comforted each other – the nature healed us too.

In the city at that time people were basically being hunted. Even now, as I’m writing this, I scroll Facebook and see how a person was attacked (possibly an LGBTQ+ community member). The incident occurred at night, the person was attacked because of how they were dressed. Before that, a girl was attacked because she had a colorful bag.

It’s not in the State’s interests to protect us, it’s playing a political game. This news turned people who were neutral before into homophobes. I believe that we have the chance to give information to people slowly, while we strengthen the queer community members and work on increasing awareness concerning those people that are not any different from us, that simply grew up in such an environment that encourages hatred and violence.

Both sides have an obligation to try to see each other’s vices, have a dialogue using healthy communication. However, the state is the more obliged to hold such events than we are. This is the responsibility of the whole state, which is obviously failing. Instead of pro-Russian forces or Parish that uses the name of the Christ for violent reasons, that are trying to make the situation worse and make use of this state, they should have a dialogue with people for whom love isn’t an unfamiliar concept, that are hated and feared of because of stereotypes and widespread lies in the society. This can always be changed with a correct approach. I believe that we can change society with slow and steady steps.

I didn’t used to communicate with people, I was angry. Now I have enough emotional resource to listen each of them and share my opinion. Direct them on a correct path, listen to their criticism and using arguments give them a chance to reevaluate. For this other type of work is required that will be long-term. It will take more time, but also it will more painless and effective. Now I’m not writing this only for homophobes or people with neutral views, but also for queer community members. However, I also understand that the queer community members also do not have enough resources to peacefully listen to the negative and aggressive comments about them.

The church is also a very painful subject. I believe that there is love within each person, that needs to be released. The patriarchy gang really unites a group where no one’s voice is heard – you can feel a kind of Dementor’s energy, which is incredibly poisonous for people who are distinguished by some sign of society.

Now as well, with their encouragement, an innocent operator has died. A tragedy has taken place and the State is responsible. They are not encouraging love. They are sinking in a swamp, losing the parish and still refusing to change their ways that involve brutal demonstration of power. The priests in the patriarchate, who do not support the common system but choose to stay silent: they are still accomplices, they are also pouring water on the mill of violence.

The brutal force that we witnessed is not the society. Our society is much wiser, understanding and tolerant. I see that in people with whom I talk to. By the end of the dialogue we come to a conclusion that no one has the right to control other’s private life. Furthermore, people have told me that they have never thought about this before. They have not thought how stressful it is for us to introduce our partners to our friends, how anxious we are; and finally, they have never thought about how economic and social problems affect us all and it is important for us to oppose that together. We shouldn’t let the government use us again, for important problems not to get covered up again. At the same time, we have to ask the state to protect all queer community members. Create jobs for all and enact the anti-discrimination law.

Nothing has more value than the individual – no ideologies or truths. Everything we have acquired should be used by people. This is the shared value of all religions. If you are told otherwise, just stop to think, listen to the center inside of you, put yourself in other person’s shoes: does the hatred of other’s make you happy? Does violence help you live harmoniously? Of course not.

People are unique creatures, created in the image and likeness of God. Splitting us into different sides will be another big mistake for humanity. That will not be useful for anyone.

The main thing is for institutions and agencies encouraging violence to be held accountable.

The opinions are divided within the queer community itself too, of course. We are not united, as people think. We are made up of individuals, some of which support Pride, others don’t; some still have not acknowledged their orientation yet. It’s time for queer community members to sit down and agree on how to resolve all of our problems. We have to make the state protect us not as a LGBTQ+ community member, but as an ordinary citizen.

Probably now we all see that we need a different strategy, on that helps plan for a better future.”


Salome Chimchiuri

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