My name is Mkrtich Shakhdinarian, but my friends and family members call me Miko. I was born in Tetritskaro, grew up in Samgori and graduated from Ilia State University, Faculty of Natural Sciences. I now have several jobs and countless hobbies.
In my opinion, equality is a part of a healthy society and it concerns all of us. If there is no equality, anyone, including the privileged ones, can become a victim of discrimination. It’s noteworthy that individuals might have particular needs, and they must be given the resources for development and worthy lives.
I’ve considered myself an activist since 2019. That’s when I first got involved with Tbilisi Pride, while the first rally I attended was “No to Theocracy” on May 24, 2013.
As for my family, I grew up in quite a traditional and conservative environment. The society seemed to indirectly oblige my family to be twice as exemplary, because we didn’t have the privilege of having a Georgian surname, at least, I still perceive it that way.
I was 17 when I realized that I liked boys too. It only took me about 3 months to accept that, but it took me 10 times as much time to tell that to other people.
Ethnicity-wise, in order to make people understand that you are just as much of a citizen as them, you need to work, talk and persuade others way more. There was a time when the existence of gay people in Georgia was blamed on Armenians, there were a few episodes like that. These two cultures have co-existed for thousands of years and I don’t understand how there are no positive attitudes toward each other historically.
There are quite a lot of stereotypes about Armenians and I’m not going to start listing them now, but I can tell you a funny story. During one of the flights, when I was returning to Tbilisi through Istanbul, I had a middle-aged lady sit next to me. After asking many questions, she insisted that I tell her my last name. When she got her answer she said – “so what, it’s okay, dear”. I’m not ashamed of my identity, while some people think it’s a disadvantage. One factor that can be singled out is the Georgian-Armenian community, which has not been tolerant within the group itself, for many years, I have not had contact with them and I do not know what the situation is there now.
Finally, I want to tell you to get to know yourself before introducing yourself to the world. Do not give up your happiness. Maybe reincarnation is real, but we’ve got no proof of that, so we should at least try and spend our lives with love and happiness.