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Mariam Jvartava – People Don’t Think about the Fact That We All live in One Space

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I am Maria Jvartava. I’m 24-years old, an ex-biologist, a barista at the time. I’m a bit introverted, however, because of my profession, I have to be social.

 

Childhood and bullying

I don’t exactly know why, but I don’t remember my childhood well. Those highlights that I do have, unfortunately, are related to traumatic experiences, such as trauma. Good memories are associated with summertime, when I would go to the countryside – I interacted with other children, animals, and the nature. As for the rest of it, it’s almost like none of it happened, I can’t remember anything.

I have been bullied since kindergarten for various reasons. Sometimes its appearance, the way I speak, my worldviews, behavior, my style, and friend group. I was always mocked because of my nose – how big it is, how ugly it looks, etc. I have participated in many nude photoshoots, and I have taken many great photos, but people always find ways to make fun of me, as if I’m doing something shameful.

Identity

The first time I liked a girl was when I was 5. Those emotions were so vivid that I can still recall them after so many years. Of course, back then I had no idea about what LGBTQI+ community was, what lesbian and gay meant, etc. However, throughout the years I slowly realized that this wasn’t a “normal” thing in the society. We live in a heteronormative society and this is what we see all around us – even in movies and advertisements. I had never seen a relationship between girls even on TV. No one talked to me about this. An additional thing was that I studied in a theological gymnasium, in which this topic was tabooed. We even skipped the topic of menstruation in biology. Despite this, I didn’t feel like I was doing something wrong. I only felt as if everything was different.

I was 17 when I had my first serious relationship with a woman. I told my friend at the time about it and she completely cut me off. The nowadays Mariam understands it all, that we lived in such a period that this was to be expected. Plus, she was my classmate and she was also influenced by strong religious beliefs. Another friend of mine told me that it was a phase I was going through, that I was just exploring and that in a few years I would forget all about it. However, by that time, I was aware that I wasn’t attracted to men and I was so sure about it I didn’t even doubt it at all.

She was the person that told my mother about everything. As she told me, she had only good intentions. My mom was very upset about it. She is a conservative woman. Despite the fact that she supports me in many ways today, at that time it was extremely hard for her to accept things. She even punished me for it. After some time, when I broke up with my girlfriend, she was really happy about it, she thought that I had “survived”. After a while, we started talking about it. I listen to her and I share my opinions too. However, if I brought a girlfriend home, I’m sure that she would react poorly. If I brought a boyfriend, on the other hand, she would be very happy about it.

I’m independent now. This might sound wrong, but it is completely up to me who I want to be with, I’m not going to hide it.

 

Feminism, lifestyle and gender equality

I have always loved animals. That’s the reason I loved going to the countryside so much. I thought it was normal to eat meat. As a kid, I never thought – here I am, petting a cow, and in an hour I will be eating its meat. This was so normalized back then, and now it’s hard to even talk about it. The first step was vegetarianism, as I stopped eating meat. Then I took out dairy products from my diet as well. The idea of a vegan lifestyle is that we shouldn’t feel pleasure from torturing live organisms. I think feminism and veganism are very closely related. Generally, female animals are the most tortured in the meat, egg and dairy industry. I think feminism shouldn’t be limited to humans, it should apply to all living things.

I became a feminist at age 21, when I joined a very important Facebook group of women in Georgia. I got a lot of important information from it, I realized that I was under much societal influence. At first I only read other people’s posts, then I became quite active myself as well. I asked questions, shared my experience. This group was the push I needed to see things more clearly, view the world, and more importantly – myself, in a different way.

On a daily basis I am a victim of gender inequality. Sometimes just because I menstruate and people think that it’s a topic to joke about. For example, they ask me – why are you in a bad mood, are you on your period? This makes me feel horrible. It is already a tabooed topic in our country, and now some people have turned it into a joke.

“You’re a woman and you wouldn’t get it. This is not a woman’s business.” – why not? Why can’t I have an opinion on a particular subject?! What does a man’s and a woman’s business mean?! If you can do something, if I wish to, I can do it just as well.

I am also quite active on social media. I mostly share content on Tiktok, where I talk about feminism and mental health. This is how I stay active, sharing and receiving information.

 

Coming out

The first non-public coming out was with my mom. I wanted to be close with her. I didn’t want to have to hide something from her. As basic as it might sound, I publicly came out to avoid the annoying questions – when are you getting married? How are your relationships going? Even though my circle of friends already knew what was happening in my life. I wanted this to be known on a larger scale, for people not to have false conceptions about me. I wanted to tell the society that I’m an LGBTQI+ community member, that I am among them, I am around them in restaurants, malls, shops, jobs…

People don’t think about the fact that all of us live in the same space. If they start to think about it, they will view this subject in a different light.

 

Queer women and biphobia.

I haven’t had any obstacles because of my queerness. I have worked in a few jobs and my employers knew about my orientation. It has never been something that would get in the way. I might have been very lucky to have ended up in such pleasant environments. However, I have had a few instances in homophobic environments that I would recall.

Thinking about it, I sometimes believe that it’s because in Georgia people view men with men as “bad” and women being with women doesn’t cause as much disgust. I would also note that in case of lesbians, when one looks more feminine and the other one is more masculine, there is more aggression. People ask questions like – which one of you is the man? As I can see, people are less aggressive when it comes to 2 feminine women. Maybe for some it’s more “aesthetic” to look at and it’s more associated with female pornography.

It makes me very upset that there is stigma toward bisexual women. Because of this even I have told myself – decide on what you want, make up your mind! Here again, I want to mention that Facebook group and how big of a role the information I gathered from there did for me. It helped me realize that I am a bisexual woman – that doesn’t mean that I have to choose between a man and a woman. I also dislike it when people say that they’re 50-50%, or 70-30% and so on. I don’t think that’s okay. When I was in a relationship with a woman, I was in a relationship with her a 100%.

Still, being with a woman is more comfortable for me, because we have more things in common. More importantly, I feel safe with women. The things we see around us – cases of rape, abuse, brutalism – it is much more common with men. I also have experience with rape, physical and psychological violence, and in my life, such things have always been related to men. Yes, there are some abusive women out there, but the percentage difference is so dramatic…

 

“Family support before anything else!”

It’s very hard to be a queer person in this country. I can’t think of any particular advice that I would give to queer people – what works for me might not work for anyone else.

I have more things to say to the parents of queer people – no matter how difficult, you have to support your children. Have close relationships with them, be friendlier. Family support comes first and a parent should always show love for their child, no matter what.

 

 

The interview was prepared with the support of Women’s Fund Georgia (WFG)

Photos: Vakho Kareli

Transgender Actress Laverne Cox Will Star in the New Shonda Rhimes Series

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The series, the trailer of which was recently released on the Internet, is based on a true story and tells the story of a Russian swindler, Anna Sorokin.

Anna Sorokin was born in Russia in 1991 and moved to New York in 2013. Shortly after moving to a new city, Anna Sorokin got a new identity and lied to everyone that she was the heir to a wealthy German man. In this way, she carried out numerous banking operations, used the luxurious rooms of various hotels, and deceived the community of New York.

Anna Sorokin’s fraudulent plan was revealed in 2019 and she was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison. It was this story that became the new inspiration for Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series.

Laverne Cox plays one of the main roles, as a personal trainer of famous people in the new series.

The new series will be released on Netflix on February 11.

Laverne Cox is an American transgender actress who was introduced to viewers from the popular TV series Orange is the New Black. She is the first transgender actress to be nominated for an Emmy.

MJ Rodriguez Becomes 1st Trans Actress to Win Golden Globe

The 79th Golden Globe Awards were held on January 9 in California. For the first time in history, the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role was awarded to transgender actress MJ Rodriguez.

 

MJ Rodriguez was awarded the Golden Globe for her role in Ryan Murphy’s popular TV series Pose. In the series, the 31-year-old actress plays the role of nurse Blanca, who helps patients during the AIDS epidemic that are infected with the HIV.

 

The actress responded to the historic victory in an Instagram post, writing that this victory is a kind of door that is open to many talented people from today – “They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS.”

 

Other nominees for the Golden Globe along MJ Rodriguez were: Uzo Aduba, Jennifer Aniston, Kristin Baranski and Elizabeth Moss.

 

In addition, MJ Rodriguez is the first transgender actress of color to be nominated for an Emmy last year.

The popular TV series Pose came out on screens in 2018 and tells the story of transgender and LGBTQ+ people living in New York in the 80s. The series focuses on Ballroom culture and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Wonder Woman Returns in the New Limited Edition DC Series with a Queer Love Story

Back in November, DC Comics released the first issue of the critically acclaimed comic book, Dark Knights of Steel.

 

The new story tells the tales of well-known heroes, knights living during the middle ages. There will be some new characters in the series too, such as Superman and Zala-aeli.

 

In the second issue, Zala-aeli learns the story of her father’s murder from Lois Lane. The grieving Zala-aeli will find solace with the help of Wonder Woman, as share a romantic kiss with each other.

 

Prior to the release of the story, fans had always thought that Themyscira Diana was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2016, DC comics confirmed this.

Photo: DC Comics

 

In addition to confirming Wonder Woman’s queer identity, DC Comics entertained fans with lots of queer characters in 2021. Back in August, Robin Tim Drake was cast as bisexual in the movie Batman: Urban Legends. The screenwriters also featured Trans Amazon in one of the latest issues of Nubia & The Amazons.

 

After the release of the third issue on January 4, the representatives of DC Comics hope that the fans will like the story of Diana and Zala-Aeli. It’s interesting to see if they will be together and become the main power-couple.

 

Currently, DC Comics is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Wonder Woman. In honor of this date, a new book was published.

 

In addition, the well-known studio Monolith Productions will release a new game in which players will be able to become part of the Amazon family and unite the modern world. This was announced on Thursday at The Games Awards.

 

Photo: Monolith Productions

 

Source: GayTimes, TheVerge

Main photo: DC Comics

WARP – The Queer Society of Barcelona in Leo Adef’s Phantasmagoric Photos

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Leo Adef is an Argentine director and photographer who has lived in Barcelona for several years and depicts the life of the queer community living in Barcelona.

The main themes of his works are identity, sexuality, love, youth and relationships. The artist is looking for inspiration in the undergrounds of Barcelona and tries to create unforgettable photos of the queer community of Barcelona by combining reality and fantasy.

The Buenos Aires-born photographer and visual artist has collaborated with various international publications and recently published his first book, WARP, which combines more than 200 photos from the Barcelona queer society. As the artist says he has been taking photos for 4 years, the book’s characters are the artist’s friends, lovers, muses and artists that he has encountered during these 4 years.

 

His photos show dreamy moods and fantastic elements, among the character of the book you’ll meet men taking their doses of testosterone in the bathrooms of Barcelona clubs, drag queens scrolling their phones at parties and queer men sunbathing on sandy beaches.

The artist has desired to get to know the world better since his childhood. He was most impressed with his first trip when he left Buenos Aires and experienced a new culture – since then everything has changed and discovering new people, places and emotions has become his main goal.

In addition for the WARP book to being an illustration of the queer community of Barcelona, it is also an attempt by the author to overcome his own struggles. As he said to one of the publication, the people whose photos are collected in the book have played a very important role in his life. For many years, the photographer went to various parties with a camera, met people and offered to take pictures of them, in the process he met many interesting people with whom his knowledge of sexuality, gender and love has increased significantly.

What is most interesting for the artist are not the photos but the stories of the people who are the characters in his book, he is interested in how queer people deal with humiliation, oppression, inequality and how it affects their future lives, how despite this humiliation, they better themselves as people.

For additional information visit the artist’s page or Instagram.