|Published online: July 24, 2015||$US5.00|
The status of LGBT rights in the Republic of Georgia recently became newsworthy following violent outbreaks at an LGBT demonstration. Yet, Georgians’ commitment to democratic principles may simultaneously impact the resistance to the LGBT movement encouraged by dominant religious leaders. In addition, there exist values, mores, and components of Georgian history that may support resistance to LGBT rights. Alternatively, government support and individuals’ support to the rights of all citizens, regardless of specific beliefs, provide substantiation of the need to uphold the rights of LGBT citizens. After describing violent anti-LGBT reactions to intended peaceful demonstrations by LGBT supporters, the author explains how provision of alternative spaces for peaceful discussion of these issues was integral to deeper understanding of both viewpoints. These spaces enlightened Georgians by exposing the incongruity between commitment to democracy and its associated human rights, and commitment to religious ideals. Implications of this study suggest that support of democratic principles impacts acceptance of alternative discourses within Georgian society. To help deepen understanding and acceptance of alternative voices, it is integral to include anticipation of resistance, development of routes for peaceful dialogue, and creation of multiple settings in which such dialogue can occur.
|Keywords:||Democracy, LGBT Rights, Human Rights, Republic of Georgia|
Associate Professor, Department of Education, Keene State College, Keene, NH, USA