Human rights defender
Mariam is a human rights defender from Georgia working on LGBTI rights. She has been working in NGOs as media officer and was also a content creator of one of the biggest LGBTI online media in Georgia. Currently, Mariam is working for a feminist organisation and her role is to manage the communication part of the organisation. She is working on the development of the communicational strategy, promoting advocacy campaigns and creating online resources in order to raise awareness about LGBTI and women’s rights in Georgia. She also takes part in the online reporting of the victims of hate crimes in Georgia.
Human rights violations in Georgia
In Georgia, the situation is really complex for the members of the LGBTI community. Recently, some defendants were for instance acquitted after they committed violence or even crimes against LGBTI people. Discrimination based on sexual orientation remains pervasive in society, and the majority of Georgian people is unwilling to accept this community. A survey conducted in Tbilisi in 2013 underlines the extent of intolerance regarding sexual orientation, concluding that half of the Tbilisi residents thinks that the sexual minorities should never be respected. LGBTIs are thus under high pressure from the society as well as from their own family and relatives. Nevertheless, the most hostile group in Georgia remains the orthodox church, which benefits from a certain protection even when they overtly discriminate and harass LGBTI.
Threats and harassment
Mariam has been the victim of harassment and violence because of her work as a LGBTI rights’ defender but also because of her sexual orientation. She had to flee from her parents’ house where she was under the threat of her brother and mother, harassing her because of her work, and urging her to stop. Because her popularity as a Human Rights Defender has grown, she received more public attention which led to harassment and persecution in the street as well as on social media, where she is targeted by homophobic groups and by some well-known Georgians.