Currently, issues pertaining to LGBT, NATO, EU and Orthodox Christianity, are intensively being discussed in the Georgian media and within political circles– sometimes in alliance with one another and sometimes in conflict.
We have been attentively observing popular opinion about these issues, the first of which concerns NATO and the EU. Georgia’s Western orientation is widely acknowledged and the country has reiterated its commitment to joining the European Union (EU) and NATO many times.
The Georgian population voted for NATO aspiration and all polling results show that they support the idea of joining these two international amalgamations. Apart from some other issues, it was particularly outlined that in order to join these unions, Georgia has to fulfill certain criteria, mainly highlighting democratic achievements, human rights protection and all other regulations that are accepted by the charters of the EU or NATO, including the freedom of expression.
Everybody in Georgia knows what has transpired on May 17. Political leaders, NGOs, and other individuals, including clergy, condemn the violent developments that followed the attempt of LGBT supporters to organize its rally.
According to the popular understanding, LGBT wanted to establish themselves as full members of Georgian society and that was one small step to another bigger one to gradually introduce and promote the conditions for possible same-sex marriage.
A large part of the Georgian population opposes this notion and so they aggressively protested against it. Moreover, the Christian Orthodox Church of Georgia openly condemns such propaganda, although at the same time condemns the violence as well.
The opinion spread among the population is that individuals are free in Georgia to conduct their sexual life in privacy as they like. There were no cases whatsoever that somebody had intruded in the private lives of gay community. So why demonstrate when the rights of LGBT were not abused?
In certain sea resorts there are special zones for nudists where they are enjoying their life nude, separated from other people. Although there were some attempts around the world to organize nude demonstrations most of the people observe it with curiosity, but overall this was not a very appreciated fact either by the church (whatever confession), the police or parents with small children.
In Georgia, the general public does not appreciate the open propaganda of gay life which contradicts traditional morals, beliefs, and the Christian faith of the Georgian population.
Some people even say that if Georgia is to enter the EU and NATO at the expense of accepting gay rights, they do not need either of them. Some analysts suggest that if there is polling conducted now in Georgia over joining NATO and EU, and the question includes some elements of freedom of expression in the LGBT context, a very large segment of the Georgian population would vote against it. So, together with sexual orientation, Georgia might change its foreign policy orientation as well, as some analysts suggest.
There is one additional threat observed by analysts – that the promotion of LGBT issues may further consolidate the radical segment of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
In summary, the recent developments of May 17 showed some controversial sides of Georgia’s current domestic situation. So, its legal, executive and legislative bodies, police, church and civil society should reconsider all the consequences and equally share responsibility. The solution is now up to the Georgian people.