Tbilisi Witnesses 2 Different Rallies on Intn'l Day Against Homophobia

In Tbilisi, LGBT organizations and other human rights institutions of Georgia held a rally in front of the Cabinet of Ministers in Tbilisi on May 17, where they demanded that certain rights and protections for the LGBT community be recognized. Police protection and supervision was ample.

However, several hundred meters away another celebration took place: Family Day, which was organized by members of the Georgian church in front of the former parliament building in which thousands of people participated.

Family Day began as an initiative after the events of May 17, 2013, when conservative elements of society and the church clashed with LGBT representatives.

A member of the Georgian Orthodox clergy, who prefers to remain known only as Andrey, told Meydan TV that Family Day is held with the blessings of Georgia’s Patriarch, Ilia II.

“Family is the cross that we are carrying on ourselves for our entire lives. İf families are not happy then society can’t be healthy. After the atheism that prevailed in this country for decades, we call on Georgian citizens to protect their traditions and families. The strong family is the basis of a strong country and healthy society”.   

In Azerbaijan, LGBT issues came into public view after the October 2014 suicide of ISa Shahmarli, chairman of “Azad” (Free), an LGBT organization based out of Baku.

His friends found his body in his office, where he had hung himself with the rainbow flag. Before the death he wrote on his Facebook page: “I am leaving. Forgive me, everyone. This country, this world is not for me. I am leaving to be happy. Tell my mother that I love her. You all are guilty of my death. This world is not strong enough to bare my colours. Goodbye!”

Chairman of “Nəfəs” (Breath) LGBT Azerbaijan Alliance Javid Nabiyev had to move to Germany in 2015. He told Meydan TV that after publicly coming out, his life became impossible to live in Azerbaijan.

According to “National Geographic” LGBT individuals can be punished by law in at least 73 countries.

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