Lasha and Beka hold hands

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Lasha and Beka record leading a double existence to lead sure of homophobic attacks

„When I told my mom I was homosexual, she stated I wish you were boring or had never existed in any admire. It’s better now not to safe a son than to safe somebody cherish you.“

Lasha, in his early twenties, has his arm around his partner Beka’s waist. They’re sitting together in a secluded park in Tbilisi.

These are now not their unswerving names because in Georgia homosexual couples most incessantly danger for their security.

Discrimination towards sexual orientation is illegitimate, however genuinely homophobia is commonplace in Georgia’s conservative society. And continuously, homosexual folks are victims of violence.

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Media captionAnd Then We Danced: The movie that sparked protests

„Ought to you are dressed in a different draw folks will birth shouting ‚pederasts‘ – to lead sure of it we need to blend in,“ Lasha explains. The time length „pederast“ is broadly frail in aged Soviet nations to insult homosexuals.

„We need to lead a double existence. We masks our faces on each day basis in portray now not to motive aggression amongst folks in the streets,“ adds Beka.

How movie used to be condemned as ‚insult to Georgia‘

Hundreds of aggression used to be on camouflage at the contemporary opening night of Georgia’s first feature movie about homosexual esteem.

A crowd of about 500 men tried to force their plot correct into a cinema in Tbilisi’s metropolis centre to disrupt the screening of the Swedish-Georgian production, And Then We Danced.

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Police in riot tools were introduced in to discontinue the violence escalating

Police, a vogue of them in riot tools, formed a line between protesters and the cinema entrance.

Filmgoers were verbally, and in some cases bodily, assaulted. Reasonably about a the protesters were wearing far-correct insignia from the organisation Georgian March. Twenty-seven folks were arrested.

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Some folks were anguish for the length of the train outdoors the cinema

Levan Vasadze, a accepted campaigner towards LGBTQ occasions who used to be at the rally, stated the movie about two Georgian male dancers in esteem used to be an insult to the nation: „Disgrace on Georgia and on the government for allowing this historical disgrace on our dignity and Georgian traditions.“

But Giorgi Tabagari, a number one express in Georgia’s LGBTQ community, argues the movie is already serving to to swap public attitudes: „After criminals and drug addicts, we are at the bottom of the record by plot of social acceptance. The movie is having a valuable impact on the Georgian public.“

Giorgi Tabagari


I surely safe considered a vogue of public figures from culture, cinema and politics debating the venture. This used to be now not the case two to 3 years ago

The Georgian Orthodox Church, the most trusted institution in the nation and a number one express towards the LGBT community, distanced itself from the violence.

On the opposite hand, the Church stated the movie used to be an try to swap „the consciousness“ of the Georgian public and in the extinguish legalise „the sin“ of homosexuality.

Church shaken by claims of homosexuality

Yet the Church has turn out to be embroiled in a homosexual scandal of its safe. True about a days before the movie’s release, the Georgian public used to be petrified when, on dwell tv, a bishop accused senior clergy of accomplishing homosexual acts.

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A unpleasant is held up outdoors the cinema exhibiting the movie And Then We Danced

Bishop Petre Tsaava had staunch been ejected from the Holy Synod, the Georgian Orthodox Church’s Govt Council.

He told reporters that the motive in the reduction of his expulsion used to be because he had uncovered a culture of „pederasty and homosexuality“ amongst the Church management.

Georgia’s Orthodox Church has denied all of the allegations. Archpriest Andria Jaghmaidze stated that such a behaviour in the Church used to be „impossible“ and told the BBC that any person stumbled on guilty of misconduct might per chance be suspended from the priesthood.

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Father Andria Saria has no predicament with homosexuality however believes there is now not such a thing as a put for homosexual monks

But the BBC has spoken to a priest who says homosexuality is commonplace in the course of the Church.

Father Andria Saria is amongst a puny circle of monks who safe chosen to discuss out towards what they are saying is hypocrisy in the course of the clergy.

„We safe many considerations in the Church and one amongst them is homosexuality. It is the important thing predicament that has turn out to be an birth anguish that must be handled,“ he told the BBC.

„We’re now not towards folks and their existence, however by plot of a individual that needs to be segment of the Church, the Church categorically forbids monks being homosexuals and we are fighting precisely towards homosexuality becoming a norm in the Church.“

‚They’re searching to execute the Church‘

In an announcement, Georgian Orthodox Church spokesman Archpriest Andria Jaghmaidze stated it used to be „impossible“ for there to be any homosexual monks and that any person stumbled on guilty of such misconduct „might per chance be suspended from the priesthood“.

Outside Tbilisi’s Sameba Cathedral, many churchgoers safe the allegations are segment of an impact war between senior participants of the clergy.

„Never in my 51 years of existence might per chance I ever safe imagined [homosexuality] used to be conceivable in the Church,“ stated Lamara Didebeli.

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Weak 86, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II is the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church and the most revered public settle in Georgia

„They’re trying every thing to execute the Georgian Orthodox Church however they received’t succeed as lengthy as our patriarch is alive.“

Fellow churchgoer Giorgi Dundua admitted his shock, however stated that even though it used to be going down it’ll calm be resolved in the course of the Church. „We wouldn’t safe the correct to reach to a resolution,“ he stated.

Tamar Gurchiani, a human rights advocate and law professor at Ilia State University, believes Georgian society is basically in denial about homosexuality in the Church.

„Hate and homophobia is so stable that folks don’t surely care in regards to the facts and they attach now not are searching to search out out the truth. Perhaps it is because there are such a good deal of folks in the government and in the Church who are themselves closeted.“

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Sameba Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi

For Lasha and Beka, the homosexual couple in the park, the premise of homosexuality in the Church is now not news in any admire, staunch as homosexuality in society is a reality that has to be authorized.

„Priests are frequent folks,“ says Lasha. „Homosexual folks exist all over the put, and of course they’re in the Church as successfully. But in a nation cherish Georgia, the put this subject is taboo, they’re hiding within their clerical clothing.“

They safe that as times swap their nation will turn out to be extra cosy with homosexuality and extra homosexual Georgians will arrive out.

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