LGBTQI people in Georgia experiencing greater acceptance but still face challenges to their rights

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Presentation of the new studies on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes towards the LGBTQI community in Georgia. Photo: Gela Bedianashvili/UN
Presentation of the new studies on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes towards the LGBTQI community in Georgia. Photo: Gela Bedianashvili/UN

The LGBTQI communities are one of the most vulnerable and marginalized segments of Georgian society. Their members face discrimination and violence in different areas of life, and there are still significant challenges remaining with regard to the protection and realization of their rights. These were the key findings revealed by two new studies, presented at an event on 6 May 2022 that was attended by representatives of the legislative and executive branches of the Government, international organizations and the diplomatic corps, as well as human rights advocates and other activists.

The two studies were conducted under the auspices of the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, funded by the Swedish Government: the Public Defender of Georgia produced a report on the Human Rights situation of the LGBTQI communities in Georgia, and the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group conducted a study of societal attitudes, knowledge and information regarding the LGBTQI communities and their rights in Georgia.

According to the studies, the negative attitude of society towards the LGBTQI communities is changing: compared to 2016, the number of people who have a sharply negative attitude towards the LGBTQI community has significantly decreased. The number of respondents who think that the LGBTQI communities’ fight for equality means imposing their lifestyle on others or is propaganda has decreased by 20.6 percentage points (to 55.9 per cent). Negative attitudes towards the community’s human rights activists have also decreased by almost 20 per cent (to 56.8 per cent). It is noteworthy that in relation to the decrease in homophobic attitudes, positive changes are more exhibited by women, young people and respondents living in the capital than by men and respondents from the older age group.

“It is promising to know that the situation regarding the LGBTQI communities in Georgia has improved,” said Sabine Machl, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia, during the presentation of the studies. “For example, their employment rate has increased. However, there are still negative attitudes and other challenges that need significant changes.”

It is noteworthy that according to the new surveys, 48.2 per cent of respondents believe that in reality, LGBTQI people are fighting for privileges and not for equality, while 39.5 per cent think that their rights are protected in Georgia. However, at the same time, 38.6 per cent of respondents believe that the State does not respond adequately to incidents of violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI community. The PDO report also includes recommendations produced for various government agencies and are accessible to all interested parties.

The event was organized within the framework of the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, implemented by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA with the generous support of the Swedish Government.