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Georgia’s next target: LGBTQ+ freedoms

Georgia’s next target: LGBTQ+ freedoms

Pride Month is sure to look different in Georgia this year – and may soon disappear forever.

This week, the Eurasian country – not the US state – introduced legislation aimed at curtailing civil liberties for LGBTQ+ people. The draft text includes a ban on same-sex marriages, same-sex adoptions, gender-affirming care, endorsement of same-sex relationships at gatherings and educational institutions, plus any same-sex depictions in media.

Over a decade ago, the South Caucasus republic became one of the few post-Soviet states to enshrine anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination into law. So, why the 180-degree change?

The Georgian Dream ruling party, in power since 2012, has been slowly shifting the country’s alignment away from Brussels and toward Moscow. This year, thousands protested Georgia Dream’s foreign agent law, which opponents say is identical to a law used by the Kremlin to crush dissent. Huge demonstrations and a presidential veto couldn’t stop the bill from passing.

But don’t expect mass protests against the similarly Kremlin-aligned anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Tbilisi has repeatedly canceled Pride Marches after right-wing protesters violently stormed the celebrations, and much of Georgia’s majority Orthodox Christian society is likely to support the measures in the name of national and religious identity.

Tinatin Japaridze, a Georgian-born regional analyst at Eurasia Group, says the Georgian Dream party is pushing this legislation to serve them politically and shore up conservative support.

Without a strong coalition to oust Georgian Dream, she says “they will continue to adopt and adapt the Russian playbook in a way that they hope will keep them in power for as long as possible.”


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