Tbilisi Pride addresses the brutal murder of a Thai citizen
Tbilisi Pride addresses the brutal murder of a Thai citizen, a transgender woman - another alarming manifestation of transphobia in the country. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and call on the state to take effective steps to end transphobic violence.
On October 31, 2021 a 38 year-old Thai citizen, who resided for work in Georgia, was brutally murdered at one of the Thai massage parlours in Tbilisi. Another employee of the parlour, who tried to stop the attacker, suffered severe injuries. As per the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, “the accused came to the massage salon on G. Akhvlediani Street in Tbilisi on the grounds of intolerance of gender identity, to kill transgender people” The accused is a 23 year-old V.TS. who was pressed charges by the Prosecution and was ordered pre-trial detention by the court.
The homophobic and transphobic violence in Georgia that is normalized and promoted by different social, political and religious groups is alarming. Existing antidiscrimination laws and policies are a mere formality. In fact, LGBTQ+ people still form one of the most vulnerable groups in society, experiencing discrimination in almost all spheres of public life (Public Defender of Georgia 2020). The state refuses to recognize the problem of homo/transphobia. Fighting against homophobic violence by the state is illusory. Moreover, the state is directly involved in the persecution of LGBTQ+ community which was evidently revealed in the course of the events of July 5-6, 2021.
It is of vital importance for the government to understand and fulfill its positive obligations with respect to prevention of violence and promotion of equality. Addressing individual cases of violence is essential yet not enough. Combating homophobia and transphobia requires urgent and systemic work, including large scale educational and awareness raising activities which will create safe and decent living environment for LGBTQ+ community in the future. The need to systematically understand and combat homophobia has never been this important before.
Taking the above into account, “Tbilisi Pride” calls on relevant bodies:
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office:
Conduct effective and timely investigation on the case of the murder of the Thai citizen and take all measures that will reveal alleged discriminatory motive of the crime.
The Government of Georgia:
Develop policy to effectively prevent and address hate crimes. The policy should combine law enforcement, social, penitentiary and educational policy directions simultaneously and be based on effective and real coordination of relevant bodies.
With the involvement of LGBTQ+ community groups, develop and implement long-term educational and informational policies designed to transform the culture and to eliminate prejudices that give rise to violence and inequality in the society