The history of LGBT human rights in the Caucasus is a sordid one: homosexuality was a crime in the former Soviet Union, and remains so today in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In contrast, the Republic of Georgia remains one of the few post-soviet States that legally prohibits discrimination against LGBT people; however, legal protection does not defend Georgians against the violence directed toward this marginalized group.
The country’s entrenched homophobia surfaced last year when a group of conservative Ultra-orthodox supporters assaulted gay rights activists at a rally in the capital city of Tbilisi. Unfortunately, instances of targeted violence extend far beyond the events of May 17, 2013. One in three LGBT people were physically assaulted in the Republic of Georgia between 2011-2012 – a statistic that only measures the small group of people who are active in the LGTB community in Tbilisi. N-Map partnered with Identoba to produce a short film with a specific advocacy goal: to empower the Georgian LGBT community by encouraging them to demand accountability for hate crimes and become a part of the growing LGBT movement in Georgia.
I can already tell just by watching this trailer for a documentary of the lives of mixed-race people in Japan that this is going to be a really powerful film. I don’t discuss it very often with people that aren’t already embedded in the whole Japan circle, but I’ll admit that there have been times where I’ve felt identity crises of a sort because of my American heritage mixed with my Japanese fluency. I love what I do with my life, but sometimes I still find myself thinking about the big stuff like that. I can’t say those experiences line up completely with what mixed-race people have to go through in Japan, but certainly those experiences I’ve had have made me empathetic to the unique ups and downs that they experience in their lives. Sometimes I wonder if after I get back there and maybe I end up with kids of my own whether I’ll have to one day give them “the talk” about being mixed in such a densely “Japanese” society. Here’s hoping films like this and other things help Japan keep paving the way towards becoming a nation that really embraces its diversity widely one day.