The Georgian Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into a reported attack on five transgender women by around 30 men in Tbilisi.
On Sunday morning, Formula journalist Tamuna Museridze reported that several women involved in sex work had been physically and verbally abused and threatened by dozens of men.
The women have said they believe the attack was premeditated.
One of the victims, who chose to remain anonymous, told Formula that she returned home at 02:00 where she was met by a man she did not recognise.
‘I saw [a man] outside my bedroom and he asked me to have sex with him. Of course, I refused and kicked him out of the flat. Then he came back and threatened me, saying: “I will kill you, I know you do not live alone” ’, the victim reportedly said.
The woman, who lives with four other trans women, reported the incident to the police shortly after, and investigators arrived at the scene.
She said that the situation had ‘calmed down’ after the police got involved, only for matters to escalate later on.
‘It was as if everything ended peacefully’, said the victim. ‘But when my two girlfriends were returning home, as soon as they got out of the taxi, three men attacked them. They were followed by their friends and in total there were around 30 men’.
An elderly woman who owns the building who also wished to remain anonymous told Formula that she heard screaming outside, after which she saw her tenants being attacked.
‘[The attackers] threatened [all of us] and said they will come again,’ she said.
The women have claimed that the men threw rocks at them and attacked them with concrete blocks.
‘We entered the house and locked the door,’ one of the women told Netgazeti. She said that their landlady was also attacked.
‘I cannot go out during the day now because they know my face, not only me but [each of us]. They know our home address,’ she said.
[Read on OC Media: Georgia’s ongoing epidemic of homophobic street violence]
This is not the first time that transgender people have been targeted in Georgia.
According to research by the Women’s Initiative Support Group, transgender people are more likely to be victims of hate-motivated crimes than other queer people.
[Read on OC Media: Tbilisi massage parlour killer ‘wanted to kill transgender people’]