Salome Esebua, Theologian – I’m also here!

”The experience of working with religious minorities has shown me that society wants those who are different to exist out of sight. One of the examples I remember is when a Muslims’ minaret was damaged in the village of Chela, but there was a mosque there for years. This minaret became a problem because there was visible proof that Muslims live in the village. Their visibility caused outrage and controversy. Approximately the same thing is happening with the queer community. Society tells them – “Exist, but out of sight, I do not need to see you!”

The argument of the majority is that no one has anything against queer people (which is absurd), and everyone can do whatever they want in their own home. We often hear the questions – “What do they want on the streets?”, “Why do they need to advertise it?”, Etc. The house is not just the walls in which we live – this country is everyone’s home. The idea and spirit of the “Solidarity March” is to make Georgia the home of all people, regardless of their identity. A home in which no one is afraid of death, violence, oppression, expulsion and everyone will be able to express themselves, equally and freely. True, this is a long process, but instead of building walls between us we should build bridges, even if we won’t be able to walk on them. Georgia needs these bridges.

I have not yet decided whether I will attend the Solidarity March or not. Not because I do not share its spirit – but because of my emotional instability and the mental trauma that has befallen me over and over again. I remember when during one of the rallies, which was not only in support of Pride or just LGBTQ + people, a mob of ultra-right supporters rushed into the protest and I was locked in a police barrier. I was not afraid then of the physical harm, but I could not emotionally bear the hatred that these people expressed. I stood frozen and thought about these people, about how did they manage to live and breathe calmly?!

To build a society, to overcome divisiveness and enmity, it is important to support the queer community. Until society overcomes this confrontation, there will always be outside forces, power-hungry, or people with other ambitions who use this division to create ideologies that fit society, and at such times, the masses are easy to manipulate and control. In reality, the ultra-right forces themselves do not unite the society against common problems, because they know best that they can no longer easily control the united society. Despite all ideological pressures, society must join together. We need to realize that these identities, the labels we attach to each other, act against us, increase hatred and don’t allow us to see the people as who they are – the highest value that exists in this world. We must realize that by being against each other, we can never solve the main problems of this country – occupation, hunger, poverty, homelessness of elderly and the children, improper access to education, broken health care, environmental problems, unfair judiciary, etc. We ourselves should not allow any politician, clergyman, any leader or an oligarch in power to use our own weaknesses against us and for his own benefit.

First of all, I want to support the Queer community because for me the most important value is people. I can not resist being in a place in which I am needed by people who were rejected by the majority. After a lot of searching, learning and fatigue, the only thing I learned is that – if we want to achieve peace and stability, there is no alternative to unconditional acceptance and love of people.

We have to overcome each other’s hatred. We have to see that the world “we have in countless colors” and it is not black and white. Only with joint efforts, by overcoming these controversies, will we be able to begin to eliminate the most pressing problems facing our home, our country.”

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