I Look Forward to the Day When I See at Least Someone Else Free from This Prison

When did you first discover your identity and how did that feel?

I’m not sure about the exact age, but I knew that something was different since a very young age. I don’t mean early ages of childhood; I mean about 13-15 years. I didn’t really understand what was going on with me, I didn’t have many questions, however, I was an outsider in most situations – at school, in the yard, etc. It was hard for me to find things in common with others, as if I had ended up in some situations by accident.

The only thing I remember that I knew that I couldn’t ask questions about it. It’s like for the first time in my life I built a strong protective barrier around me and I was completely alone inside it. No one came in to visit me, and there was no magical key to open the door. It was just myself and I – my safe space.

What path did you go through before coming out to your own self?

Coming to terms with my identity was a very difficult path for me. At first I had friends that I said were my girlfriends. I had so much respect for them, and I mistook those feelings for love, attraction and even sex.

During the following stage, there was a person in my life, whom I worked with and we talked a lot.

I remember that it was hard to find a name for what was going on, but I still found ways to voice my thoughts, to feed my soul and so I had this friend, with whom I didn’t admit my true feelings. There was a strong desire between us, we talked all day and night. This was enough for them as well, until everything changed. They “admitted” their orientation to me. I couldn’t, so I chose to just leave.

This breakup was so hard for me that I knew exactly what was happening, otherwise it wouldn’t have been so hard. I’m not sure how I went through this period. I was a school student then, probably in 10th grade. I think my everyday routine also helped me get over them. They left me with the truth, with which I live up until this day and I’m very thankful to them, even though they still don’t even know about my attitudes.

What is life without coming out like? Or when only a closed circle of friends knows the truth?

As I said in the beginning, I created a barrier around me at a young age and despite the fact that sometimes I get the urges to tell people that I’m also one of those people that they speak poorly of, it doesn’t bother me too much. Because of my principles, I don’t think that everyone needs to know about my sexual orientation. However, it is true that the reality would be quite different if I had a different social circle.

My narrow circle of friends that I’ve acquired is exactly the thing that gives me the nourishment that society has long wanted to take away. These are the people that stand by my side when I’m struggling and when I have strong feelings of protest, for example, relating to the recent events that have taken place.

I don’t want the reader to perceive this as if I’m ashamed of anything, or that I wouldn’t feel proud to announce it. The thing is that my coming out could harm a lot of people that I care for. It isn’t worth it for me to hurt them just to know my sexual orientation – those that should know already know about it.

When I think about the benefits, I think it would put an end to such questions as – “When are you getting married?” This is something as I get asked a lot, especially as I’m getting older now. However, I always reply that I’m not going to do that and it’d be better if they took that into consideration. I guess that is my coming out – I don’t want to lie anymore.

And as for the lies… I do find it hard that I have to lie in certain situations, however it’s not a type of lie that would hurt anyone other than me.

Do you think there’s a way to have a personal life in Georgia?

Unfortunately, no. I don’t want to sound bold, but it isn’t an unknown fact, that our country is still very much behind. I can’t think about my personal life in Georgia, that could be public and normalized. However, we are taking some baby steps toward this, the authors of which are the young people fighting in the front lines, activists, or just supporters. I think progress takes a lot of time and by that time I will be too old, but I still am waiting to see other people be free from this prison.

What’s your opinion on the Georgian queer activism? Are you involved in it? What would you change?

I have much respect for those that publicly fight for equality, in order to change the existing reality. In the past, heroism was going to a war, and in our time – I think that’s exactly what heroism is. They are just as scared of the ignorant mob, but for them the goals come before the fear.

As for myself, I definitely wouldn’t call myself an activist, however, I’ve been in many situations of discrimination toward someone, and I never stay silent with those. This is the bare minimum that I can do, but I cannot compare myself to those people that go through it every day.

And finally, as for change, I don’t think that I would change anything. One thing that comes to mind is the group of radicals, that announce their sexual orientations from different, radical ways. However, this is also their choice and we can’t take that away, radicalism also has goals of its own.

Who is the one person that it would be the hardest to come out to? Why?

It’s definitely my mother, the most important person for me. Other than her, the rest of my family members.

That’s how life is, and this formula applies to other relationships as well – you don’t want to hurt those people that are the dearest to you, and even if that result is not guaranteed, the risk is always there.

Have you ever thought about leaving Georgia? If so, what was the reason?

I have thought about it, but I would never do it. Maybe the thing that prevents me from doing it is my career, my job that helps me not think about the fact the current situation in this country. If I was to leave, I would leave for one reason only – more freedom.

What would you tell those queer people that are going through those stages that you’ve already gone through?

I would tell them that there’s nothing to be afraid of and they should trust life more. The main thing is to not be afraid to live, and everything else will work out, the life itself will help them become better people. And finally, to be more content with themselves, know their worth and values, to not walk with their head down because they are attracted to the same sex and if they’re lucky enough to find someone who shares their opinion, to enjoy that reality and live life to the fullest.

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