It’s a short clip showing what happened in the streets of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, earlier today, when thousands of people turned out to shout down – and shut down – a modest rally for LGBT rights. Today is International Day Against Homphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), and what makes today so important is right there for the world to see. See it for yourself here.
All too common
The scene is all too common: a small band of courageous activists, of people refusing to let an ignorant society circumscribe their lives, set upon, surrounded, and endangered by our antagonists. As the recently released annual Department of State Human Rights Report makes all too clear, what we saw today in Georgia could be practically anywhere around the world. Russia, Indonesia, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Guatemala, China, Albania, Belarus, Iran, Fiji, Iraq, Mexico – and scores more.
Or right here in the United States of America. Even as our national movement rides an unprecedented, almost unbelievable wave of momentum – three states passing marriage-equality in eleven days, for starters – there are thousands of places where even the bravest and “out-est” among us might hesitate before staging a rally. We also have a lot to learn – on this international day – from others. Inspiration from those who put their lives on the line today and every day. Lessons from countries way ahead of the U.S. in recognizing LGBT equality.
Giving in solidarity
IDAHO is about freedom. It’s about safety from violence. It’s about what links LGBT people across oceans and borders, time zones and laws. It’s about pride and courage and struggle and hope.
And it’s about solidarity with our brothers and our sisters – everywhere. In solidarity, I hope we all can consider making a gift today to an organization working on global human rights for LGBT people. Simply search “international LGBT rights” and a number of critical groups come up.
PS : For more inspiration from the other side of the world, check out this short photo album from some young activists in Tehran.