How would I describe myself? – honest, fair, anarchist.
Role model women, literature and music
There are three role model women in my life: First, my mother – who is a symbol of dignity and hard work for me; Italian singer Yolanda Giulotti (aka Dalida) – her amazingly tragic and unfair life is really motivational for me to not let anyone use me, to separate my personal life from my career, and to realize that suicide has no place in my life. Her music has always inspired me. Jana Dark – I think there is a need to explain what I like about this person. French writer and philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, French sculptor, Camille Claudel and French writer – Isabel-Sidon Colette. Except of my mother and Camille Claudel, all three are strong, independent, women full of fundamental values and rational ideas, with amazing analytical skills. This is what I like the most in a woman.
My first book was The Little Prince, which I to this day read at least once a year. Vazha-Pshavela was definitely my favorite. Then Shakespeare, Sartre, Beauvoir, Faulkner, Nietzsche, Kafka, Joys, Bulgakov… The list is so long that it’d take me the whole day to write it. Each work by each author is, of course, emotional and, whether you like it or not, they affect your mood. You have a different attitude towards life when you read a lot of stories of different genres, forms, scopes and values.
Classical music is an integral part of my day and night – Tchaikovsky, Chopin. I love jazz too. I also listen to electronic music and alternative music. Apart from rap, I can relate to anything, but French music is still supreme for me – whatever has been created since the 80s till this day.
“Human rights, but not for women”
It’s not that easy to just talk about what freedom is. Everyone has their own understanding and everyone expresses it in different ways. However, maybe, freedom is when you have what you want. When you are where you feel good. When you are not in a rush to anywhere. When you are lying in a hammock, chewing on a piece of grass.
No matter where and how we talk about equality and women’s rights, the modern world is still not ready to accept and recognize them. For example, France is one of the leading countries in terms of human rights, you will often hear – droit de l’homme, mais pas pour les femmes (human rights, but not for women). For example, the judge still asks the raped woman during the trial whether she had an orgasm during the act…
Despite everything, I really don’t think that I am different from anyone, because I was born this way. This is the problem of those who think there’s anything weird about it. I was never really into gay bars, that’s why my partner and I usually go to the same bars that everyone goes to, because I feel way less discriminated when I end up in such places by accident. It’s as if you are hiding from someone or something and it seems like a secret, hidden assembly. I don’t enjoy that in any way. On the contrary, it makes me feel oppressed and upsets me.
From a situational point of view, the existence of two people cannot be the same because of their interests, intellectual abilities, mentality, values and attitudes. I don’t think it really matters if a person is heterosexual or gay.
Resistance and Self-defense
There is no point in opposing the category of people that tell you or make you comply to their established standards in any way, because this usually grows into more controversy and additional conflict. So it is better to have nothing to do with such community.
We always have to protect ourselves or others, at any time and space. Not everyone is able to deal with such things, that’s why I always show initiative. I have even engaged with a man that was verbally abusing his wife in the street, and when I got involved – he was ready to fight with me, to which I had an adequate answer. This reminds me of one time – there was a small church in the backyard of State University. I was a sophomore. There I was attacked by 2 guys that beat me up. I couldn’t have defended myself because one of them sneaked up on me from the back and knocked me out by hitting me in my head. Then they got an appropriate response for me. I don’t like remembering this period. Since then, I have had reflexes and there’s no way that anyone could approach me in a way that I wouldn’t notice.
I have resisted verbally, physically, but in some groups of people, it’s completely impossible and ineffective. Therefore, you should avoid and try to never cross paths with them, even if it concerns your own family members.
Life goes on and as time passes, it becomes more interesting to participate in it
Discrimination on homophobic grounds has never hindered me financially, because I have never not had income. Years ago, however, I worked in one of the most well-known institutions, where after learning about my personal life, my salary was reduced and then I was fired altogether.
The most bitter thing I can remember and I will never get over, was how I was banished by the whole sixth building when I was studying journalism. It has been more than 20 years since then, but this story still bothers me and arouses unpleasant emotions.
One phony girl, whom I sincerely loved, decided to take revenge on me for something that I hadn’t even done. I really didn’t do anything that she accused me of. My closest friends rejected me. They laughed at me behind my back. They told horrible stories about me. They showed me that they were punishing me for my views on sexual orientation. Years later, many of them apologized, but in my eyes they will forever be those people that rejected me and humiliated me on homophobic grounds. Yeah, you can glue a broken plate together, but it will never go back to its original shape. As time passed, I acquired the skill of indifference. Because I wanted to raise my child in a good environment I had to move to a different country. It was impossible to do that in Georgia back then, and now the situation is even worse.
Despite the fact that I have been desperate, hopeless, deceived, abused, and out of control many times, I always forced myself not to fall into depression. To go outside and do things instead of wallowing in my sadness and experiencing more failure, because life goes on and as time passes, it becomes more interesting to participate in it.
This world belongs to everyone equally
I think that it is possible to overcome misogyny, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and other phobias by delivering correct information and education. And to the women that live in hostile environments, I say – never give up!
First of all, we need a reform of the educational system and since very young age, in all types of institutions, according to the developmental age, correct information should be delivered to the young generation: that people are born the way they are, that they belong next to us, that this world belongs to everyone equally. The rest of it comes with age. A person is strengthened by every emotional and thoughtful step that they take. The main thing is to find the proper path to get there.
How do you survive? – by never giving up on yourself.
Interview was prepared with the support of Women’s Fund Georgia (WFG)