Kristi Datiashvili – I am Also Here!

”In Georgia, members of the LGBTQ community are only allowed to breathe (even that’s not always the case). I realized this at an early age. Part of society is trying to convince us that we have the right to do everything at home (they even break into our homes) and we should not occupy public space. They expect us to thank them for this “compromise”.

Homophobic groups try with great diligence to convince people that members of the LGBTQ community are perverted and in this way want to militarize the society against the community. One of their main goals is to silence us and keep us at home. Occupying public space is essential for the public to see what the community actually looks like and to understand that even queer people have the right to live freely. We all have the right to visibility, be it religious, ethnic or sexual minority. Visibility of the LGBTQ community is most important for raising the awareness of the people.

I agreed with the idea of ​​the March of Honor from the very first day. This is a chance to reach out to the public and make them understand that all people are equal. Queer people deserve a safer life just like the rest of us. Unfortunately, I had to move from Georgia to another country and this time I can only express my support online.

I think Pride Week is very important for each of us and a lot depends on it. After the Pride weeks of the past years, there are clearly steps forward and I think a lot more people will see the true face of the queer community this year.

Tbilisi Pride organizes interesting events that will help us raise public awareness. I think community activism is very important. There are people who think that their voice can not change anything, but they are wrong – today every person on the march has great power and importance. I urge my queer friends to join the March of Honor, at least, to raise the awareness of only one person and to prove to them that all people have a right to exist.

I think homophobic groups should definitely see that no one is going to sit quietly at home. I’m not going to accept standards not even knowing by whom or with what rights they were set.

Family has a huge role to play in this fight, their support is essential. Family members need to understand that we have the right to express ourselves and to stop adjusting to other roles. When a person begins to express themselves, first of all, they should have hope for their family. Especially when there is so much homophobia in the country. It is important to love and, if necessary, protect your family members at your own expense. Fight with them and do not allow anyone to oppress them. If you can do that, half the battle will already be won. The biggest support is the family, which stands by you and gives you the strength to fight.

I remember very painfully the years when I was rejected because of my appearance. I still can not forget the hateful looks I was given because of my haircut or piercings. The hatred they expressed when they learned that I support the queer community. There were too many insults to which the state had no response to, because they only care about the  ”majority ”.

The state is supporting homophobic groups and directly incites violence. In the country where I am currently living in, human rights are very strictly protected. Belgium is 100% LGBTQ friendly. Here the physical or verbal abuse towards the queer community will inevitably lead to a harsher response and, of course, this is directly related to the reduction of violence. These are the steps that the state must take. When the abuser can no longer walk in the street, can no longer live next door to us, others will realize that they can not get away with it so easily. Unfortunately, today the church encourages violence.

I think that attending the March of Honor is our priority today, if we want to continue living in a safe country. It will help us to reach freedom. My support to every person who goes out of their way to protect their honor.

I hope to someday be able to return to my home country and feel safe in any situation, be it a house, a cafe, a Pride event or any other public gathering. We will be able to love each other.”

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