17th of May is a day of fear for me. On 17th May of 2013 I was in Israel, but I saw my friends be raided. I was very anxious, could not sleep for three days. Imagine that people that you know are threatened with death.

Generally, I am not a supporter of pride and protests. I believe that there are other, better ways to increase visibility. I think that by working with the government, we can achieve more by legislative changes. Like this, people just get annoyed and until they have learned, that they will be held accountable for violence, I believe, holding protests makes no sense.

If the government abandons the LGBTQ community members, of course, the society will do so as well. The government must announce that we will be protected, that violence and protests against us will not be allowed, and that our protection is important for the country – without all of this, Pride and protests will always be dangerous for us.

I do not wish to diminish anyone’s motivation; everyone has their own way of fighting and everyone should act in the way that they believe is correct. For me, at the given moment, protests are not the best way of expression.

I am 37 years old and I have spent my whole life on demonstrations. Some things were changed with them: for example, the public and even the law enforcement agencies react to the facts of violence against women differently from what it used to be years ago. I don’t think that the condition of and attitudes toward the LGBTQ community members can be changed by saying that we should be accepted the way that we are.

I’m not sure, but maybe some things can be more effective than demonstrations. We could explain to our family members, friends and relatives, that we are those people with “different orientations”, whom they do not love, are afraid of and wish to destroy; nor do we deserve such attitude from them.

Important changes do not happen suddenly. If we wish to be accepted as we are, we should also accept the society the way it is – with all of its fears, aggressions, lack of knowledge and distorted information. We should respect each other. We might have a long way to go before recognition, but nothing is impossible.

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Mikheil Kumsishvili Comments on 17th of May

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