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Georgia: Courts Appear Reluctant to Tackle Hate Crimes

Police keep people away from gay activists hiding in a building in Tbilisi surrounded by an angry crowd of Orthodox activists on the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2013. Georgia has adopted legislation banning all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of “sexual orientation” or “gender identity,” but investigators and courts are rarely willing to prosecute on grounds of discrimination. (Photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

Fatima Romanova wears an understated black shirt and brown pants, but a colorful glittery t-shirt peeks out underneath; her hair is stylishly short and combed on the right. She waits tables at a café in Tbilisi's old district, decorated with flowers and paintings on the wall. One of the paintings is of a girl in a flowery dress and red shoes.
 
“I love dresses, I’m a girl and of course I want to wear them, but I choose not to, for my safety,” Fatima said.
 
In her passport, Fatima, 27, has a different name -- a man's -- that she asked not be published. She is transgender, but now opts to express herself in public as a man after suffering a series of brutal attacks three years ago. In one she was attacked on the street by a group of men; in another a man with whom Fatima had been friendly learned that she was transgender, became angry, and threw her out of a moving car in the center of the city.
 

To read the full story

Tamar Kikacheishvili is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.

Georgia: Courts Appear Reluctant to Tackle Hate Crimes

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