A 2017 Miss Transgender competition which was scheduled to be held on March 31st in Tbilisi has been cancelled, a representative of the NGO LGBT Georgia, Levan Berianidze, has told Tabula. The event was being organized by member of the transgender community; March 31st marks the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Berianidze says the event was cancelled because of threats of violence being voiced on Facebook to disrupt the competition.
“Radical groups mobilized and started to post in different [Facebook] groups, that ‘we should gather,’ ‘let’s hold demonstrations,’ ‘let’s not allow this to happen’... That is why we decided to temporarily postpone [the competition]. We don’t want a fight. We’ve addressed the law enforcement authorities, however we still thought that in such a tense atmosphere, it wouldn’t be reasonable to hold the competition. It might take place in the future, but we don’t know yet,” Berianidze said in an interview with Tabula.
According to the World Value Survey, Georgia is the third most homophobic country in the world after Jordan and Iran, with 92.6% of the population unhappy with the idea of having a gay or lesbian neighbor. Only 27% of the Georgian population believes that it is important or somewhat important to protect the rights of “sexual minorities.” The discussion is tied with Russian propaganda efforts: Pro-Russia forces label LGBT people as a Western import and fan the flames of homophobia, while presenting Russia as the guardian of "Orthodox Values.”