17th of May is both a day of pride and sadness. The day during which we could walk proudly, show people who we are, how we are, and what we want, was taken away from us. I do not understand why the patriarchate needs this particular day to celebrate Family Day – they only showed us that they are “cooler”, have more supporters and whenever they want to, they can enjoy the privileges that the state has given them.

There are varying opinions whether Pride is necessary not only in society, but among the LGBTQ community itself. Some do not want to jeopardize their lives, some are tired, others do not see a point in doing it and I do understand where they’re coming from. However, it is crucial for us to have a day to come outside together. Some people think of us as having horns, while others imagine us with wings; some think that transsexuality and homosexuality are contagious diseases and whomever we look at or touch will also become gay or trans.

This is exactly why we need Pride. People need to see that we have neither horns nor wings, that we are not dangerous, or asking for some kind of privileges – we only want equality and the ability to live the way that others do. We are normal people and not just some “LGBT-whatever” abbreviation that sounds scary and vague.

The process of becoming self-aware and accepting yourself is just as important. It wouldn’t be right to say that we always know everything, we are always in the right, we like everything about ourselves and we live in a horrible society that does not understand us. We, ourselves, have questions, fights, we work on our strengths and weaknesses and try to develop, and be better – this is a normal process and that’s how everyone should be. Once you have properly gotten to know and accepted yourself, many things become easier.

Even though we still are only taking baby steps, in the last 10 years, at least, the situation changed significantly through public speeches, direct meetings, lectures, conversations.

I don’t live in Georgia anymore, however, while I did, I constantly suffered from a feeling of unsafety – I was always ready to be attacked. For many years I slept with a knife hidden under my pillow, in case that someone would barge into my house to kill me, to protect myself, to at least put up a fight before they killed me.

The final decision to leave Georgia was because of those reasons: to be able to live with dignity, peacefully take care of my own education, personal growth, and to be a normal member of society.

To everyone, who is alone right now, is confused or suffers from a feeling of unsafety, I urge to speak up, to ask for help from LGBTQ organizations, social workers and demand to be protected.

If anyone is still in the process of learning about themselves, I support them from here. I don’t want them to be afraid – this is also a normal process; we will always have some unanswered questions toward ourselves, but we still should be able to be happy. The main thing is to not give up, lift our heads and be happy. We deserve it.

All of us were scared when we went outside or started talking about our sexuality, asked for recognition, but if you do not protect yourself, accept yourself as you are and take charge of your own happiness – no one else can do it for you. When growing up we are not taught to love and respect ourselves. Our parents also grew up without that knowledge, but that does not mean that we cannot develop and love ourselves the way we are.

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