May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, which is officially recognized by the European Parliament and many countries around the world. This date was originally established by the Idaho Committee, and May 17 was symbolically chosen because in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. From year to year this day is celebrated by more and more countries, and in Georgia, it was first celebrated in 2011.
May 17 is a series of events aimed at raising awareness of the rights of LGBTQI people, increasing their visibility and condemning violence. Every year, LGBTQI organizations choose the main theme specifically for this day. The theme for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in 2022 is “Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights.”
Violations of the rights of LGBTQI people are frequent in Georgia and the state does not respond properly to this problem. Our legislation is discriminatory against LGBTQI people. They are not guaranteed the most important rights, such as health care, the possibility of have a family and a personal life, the full realization of labor rights. Unfortunately, investigations into these human rights violations are ineffective.
On May 17, 2013, a rally planned by the LGBTQI community against homophobia was violently dispersed by the Orthodox clergy and protesters. The following year, the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, declared May 17 to be Family Purity Day, contributing to the conflict in the country and the escalation of violence. The truth is that the family is just as important to LGBTQ people and, perhaps, even more so.
Society needs to understand that there is no place for hate in a family. A family is sacred when there is peace, love, support and equality in it. And in our society if there’s anyone that needs support from their families – it’s queer people.
There are way more things that unite us, rather than divide us.