Georgia’s LGBT+ community living in fear after violence

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07/26/2021

TBILISI, July 26 (Openly) – 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.

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