Have you ever felt out of place or unwelcome?
Sadly, this is a daily experience for members of the LGBTQI community. And for many, it’s worse. They live in fear.
LGBTQI+ discrimination is rampant around the globe. As of March 2019, there are 70 United Nations Member States (35%) that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts, with imprisonment as the most common penalty. Indeed, in 37% of these countries, consensual same-sex acts can be punished by life imprisonment. In six countries, a person can receive the death penalty for being found “guilty” of consensual same-sex sexual acts, with three in Asia (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) and three in Africa (Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia).
In 30 states in the United States, LGBTQI+ people are at risk of being fired, refused housing, or denied social services simply because of identifying as LGBTQI+.
Our February Film Festival continues tomorrow, February 10th, at 7:00 p.m. CST as we feature “Living Out Loud: LGBTQI rights in Georgia.”
In this episode, we meet feminist activist Ekaterine Aghdgomelashvili, a trailblazer for LGBTQI+ rights in Georgia and co-founder of Women’s Initiative Supporting Group (WISG). Eka and the other leaders at WISG focus their work on empowering women and LGBTQI+ people in Georgia and working to advance their rights through political participation, economic empowerment, and cultural exchange.
We also meet Eka T., an aspiring young artist and fellow community activist, in the tense days leading up to a rally for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Through the eyes of Eka A., Eka T., and others, we see how anti-rights and anti-gender movements are endangering the lives of LGBTQI+ people and seeking to rollback rights gained by the gender justice movement in Georgia.
A 2018 study on hate crimes and discrimination in Georgia found that the majority of Georgians generally think it’s important to protect the rights of minorities—with the exception of LGBTQI+ people.
While officially a secular country, church and state are far from separate in Georgia. LGBTQI+ people in Georgia are the targets of violence and state-sanctioned oppression because of the undue influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church on social and political life in the country. Anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric, led by religious and political leaders, has resulted in homophobic and transphobic violence, discrimination, hate crimes, and murders throughout the country, as well as state-ordered threats against LGBTQI+ individuals and activists. At the same time, LGBTQI+ and feminist movements in Georgia have made gains and have grown stronger over the years.
Don’t miss this eye-opening documentary and discussion. You are needed and Now is our time!
Be bold. Be Daring. Be AWE-dacious!!
P.S. We will be hosting the Fundamental film series on Wednesdays in February. It is a joint production from Academy Award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and the non-profit Global Fund for Women. At a time of unprecedented political uprisings around the globe, Fundamental introduces global audiences to grassroots movements and community leaders who are standing up for our fundamental human rights and working to hold governments accountable for healthier and more just societies for all.