Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, also known around the world as IDAHO. The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. The purpose of celebration of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is an expression of solidarity and condemnation of violence against LGBT people.

Despite the fact that Georgian legislation is not discriminatory towards LGBT persons, its practical enforcement does not ensure adequate legal guarantees. The acts of discrimination of LGBT persons in labor, health, social and economic relations are quite frequent. They suffer violence and face unequal treatment in different areas of their life, in families and communities.

Homophobic attitudes among public still remain a challenge, and often result in hate crimes and other discriminatory activities. Unfortunately, no awareness raising measures are carried out to support destruction of current stereotypical approaches. Recent events have once again demonstrated that homophobic attitudes are closely linked with the general level of social and cultural tolerance in Georgia.

Events for 17 May 2013 clearly showed us that LGBT persons and their supporter NGOs were unable to fully exercise their Constitution right to freedom to assembly furthermore, a hatred motivated physical violence were detected as well. A year has passed since the last events, however unfortunately there has been no legal consequence for the violations, and furthermore no one has been punished for the commitment of physical abuse. The Public Defender appeals to the stakeholders to enhance collaboration with the community for elimination and prevention of current homophobic practices as well as to conduct a timely, effective and accountable investigation of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents.

On 17 May 2014, the Public Defender’s Office will be observing ongoing events in the country.

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