Living Out Loud
LGBTQI+ rights in Georgia
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About the Episode
How can a vulnerable but resilient movement overcome the powerful joint forces of church and state?
While officially a secular nation, church and state are far from separate in Georgia, where homophobia is common. The Christian Orthodox Church holds great power including among government officials, resulting in homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination throughout the country, hate crimes and murders, and state-ordered threats against LGBTQI+ individuals and activists.
At the same time, the feminist and LGBTQI+ movements in Georgia are growing stronger and more organized. In “Living Out Loud,” we meet Eka Aghdgomelashvili, a Georgian feminist activist and trailblazer who led successful efforts to pass anti-discrimination laws in this former Soviet state. We also meet a young artist, Eka Tkemeladze, and fellow community activists who are mobilizing in the tense days leading up to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) rally.
Meet the Activist: Eka Aghdgomelashvili
Ekaterine Aghdgomelashvili is one of the key leaders and trailblazers in Georgia for LGBTQI rights and the co-founder and gender specialist at Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG). WISG is a feminist organization working to empower women and LGBTQI+ people in Georgia to experience their full and equal rights through political participation, economic empowerment, and cultural exchange. She is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and consultant, as well as an activist and researcher. Her specialties are women's rights and human rights, advocacy, reporting and documentation, gender, sexuality, LGBT rights, LB and trans health, media studies, and qualitative research.
Spotlight on the issue
Gender justice activists are working to advance LGBTQI+ rights—not just in Georgia but around the world. Meet some of Global Fund for Women’s grassroots grantee partners who are leaders in the movement.
"Feminism is fundamental because we dream of feminist futures and realities that embody revolutionary love."
UHAI EASHRI is Africa’s first indigenous activist fund supporting LGBTQI+ and sex worker human rights. They fund LGBTQI+ and sex work-organizing in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as Pan-African organizations working across the continent. UHAI EASHRI believes that change can be made by bringing together sexual and gender minorities and sex workers to fight for their rights collectively. They work to end discrimination against LGBTQI+ people and sex workers, be it at their workplaces, homes, schools, or religious institutions.
Point of View
"LGBTQI+rights are fundamental because no one should have to hide who they are and who they love."
Despite laws affirming some rights for LGBTQI+people in India, many queer and trans people live without basic rights and freedoms. Point of View is a leader in queer digital activism, showing how technology is used for coming out; providing information and support; making the queer visible; amplifying trans rights; building communities; and mobilizing allies. In their trainings and curricula, they raise awareness about gender and sexuality based on women's and queer and trans people's realities, experiences, and perspectives. They also support LGBTQI+groups and individuals by offering trainings on digital security, and use art, storytelling, and social media to create campaigns and powerful counter-narratives showing how #QueerLivesMatter and #TransLivesMatter.
StudioMobile – Accent on Action
"Fighting sexism, homophobia, and transphobia is fundamental because gender justice is crucial to achieving human progress."
StudioMobile -Accent on Action (SMAA) was founded as an alternative to mainstream media that perpetuates stereotypes about women and other discriminated groups. StudioMobile produces video documentaries aimed at empowering women and LGBTQI+people and raising awareness about their rights. The group also offers mobile educational seminars in rural areas of Georgia.
Insight Public Organization
"Fighting for equality is fundamental because no one should live in a society where people are treated as second class citizens."
Insight Public Organization is a feminist organization that fights conservative, anti-gender movements and opposes ultra-rights groups in Ukraine. Their mission is to protect LGBTQI+ people from violence and discrimination and win legal rights for LGBTQI+people in Ukraine. Insight Public Organization takes an intersectional approach in their work, believing no one should be left behind.
Intersectional Knowledge Publishers (Kohl Journal)
Local feminist knowledge is fundamental because we want to reclaim our history.
Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research is a progressive feminist journal on gender and sexuality in the Middle East, South West Asia, and the North Africa region. Kohl Journal promotes knowledge produced by feminist scholars and activists in the region and is part of the queer feminist movement in Lebanon, occupying a place between academia and activism. Kohl mainly works with LGBTQI people and aims to challenge norms around sex, sexuality, and gender.
Facts & Figures
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