Nino, a 25-year-old lesbian from Georgia, no longer feels at ease when she leaves the house. Since violence forced a Pride march to be cancelled earlier this month, she is afraid of being verbally abused or chased in the street.
Reports of hate crimes have risen in the wake of the violence of July 5, when anti-Pride protesters assaulted journalists and stormed activists’ offices, and some LGBT+ Georgians say they are now living in fear.
“Things have changed. Life is no longer as simple as it once was,” Nino, 25, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, said from the home she shares with her partner in the capital, Tbilisi.
“You’re more afraid that someone on the street will chase you and hurl abuse at you. You can no longer be so cheerful. You have an inner fear. It’s as if some tragedy is coming to you,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The homophobic violence that halted a planned “March for Dignity” has also raised political tensions in the former Soviet country as it prepares for an October local election – sparking protest rallies and scuffles in parliament.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has rejected calls to resign from rights activists and opposition parties, who have accused his government of emboldening hate groups and failing to protect journalists and LGBT+ supporters.
In the run-up to the Pride events, Garibashvili said holding the LGBT+ march was “not reasonable” because most Georgians opposed it, and has since described the cancelled event as a “provocation” organised by the opposition.
Over the weekend, posters depicting opposition figures and the head of Tbilisi Pride under a rainbow splattered with blood sprang up across the capital.
Continue reading: https://news.trust.org/item/20210726140642-9tc1f/ (source)