Two queer men have been attacked in Kakheti, western Georgia. They allege that they were attacked ‘on the grounds of homophobia’.
According to a local media outlet RegINFO, the incident occurred on the night of 17 May, which is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
A group of men were visiting their friend in Kakheti when a local man attacked them with a crowbar.
The attack occurred outside the host’s house, with the attacker driving his car towards the host, before getting out of the vehicle and beating him.
‘Then he followed us into my yard, attacked my friend and hit him in the head with an iron crowbar’, the injured man said. His friend was knocked unconscious, and the attacker then fled, he added.
Police and emergency services arrived at the scene soon after. The injured were taken to the district hospital, where they stayed for a day.
Police are investigating the incident but have denied that the attack was homophobic in nature, which would be a more serious crime, as the injured claimed.
The attacker has not been arrested, but police say that he will be charged soon.
RegINFO quoted one of the injured men as saying that he has received multiple threatening phone calls telling him not to press charges against the attacker. ‘Otherwise, they said they would disclose details of my private life publicly’, he added, noting that he has not come out.
International Day Against Homophobia in Tbilisi
Another young man was beaten up in Tbilisi ‘on the grounds of homophobia’ on 17 May, after dozens of queer rights activists marked International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia under heavy police presence. Meanwhile, priests and supporters of Georgia’s Orthodox Church took to the city’s central streets to mark ‘Family Purity Day’.
[For a broader picture of the history of International Day Against Homophobia in Georgia, see OC Media’s previous report]
According to international queer rights group ILGA-Europe, Georgia’s queer community still faces difficulties, with local NGOs continuing to receive reports of discrimination. ‘Many of these cases involved hate speech directed at LGBTI people, or bias-motivated violence — all occurring in spite of relatively recent anti-discrimination legislation. Surveys of public opinion also revealed distinctly negative feelings towards LGBTI people, re-emphasising the gap between laws on paper and the atmosphere in which people live’, ILGA’s annual 2017 report claimed.