Public Defender’s Statement on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which aims to condemn violence and express solidarity with LGBT+ people. However, LGBT+ people and their supporters have not been able to celebrate this day publicly for years due to the risks of violence and lack of state guarantees of protection.
The events developed last year during the Tbilisi Pride Week were particularly alarming, when the leaders and other members of the far-right groups directly and publicly called for violence against members of the LGBT+ community and their supporters. On July 5, 2021, when the March of Dignity was to be held, the law enforcement failed to prevent large-scale attacks on journalists and human rights activists by the above violent groups, resulting in a number of people being seriously injured.
Although the visibility of the LGBT+ community has increased over the years and the discriminatory attitudes in the society have decreased, this process is not accompanied by a consistent or thoughtful state policy. Moreover, the legal inaction of the State encourages inequality towards LGBT+ people in almost all areas of public life, fails to improve their quality of life and leaves them vulnerable to violence and discrimination.
An important challenge is timely, effective and accountable investigation of hate crimes. The State has not yet developed a unified strategy to combat hate crimes and its response to homo/transphobic crimes still fails to meet standards of effectiveness, timeliness and impartiality.
The Public Defender once again calls on the relevant state agencies and public figures to take effective preventive and reactive measures against alleged crimes targeting LGBT+ people and to make public statements that will help raise public awareness of equality.