“Georgian dance is based on masculinity. There is no room for weakness in Georgian dance!”
So begins the captivating 2019 gay movie “And Then We Danced”, based on the love affair between Merab and Irakli – dancers training at the National Georgian Ensemble in Tbilisi. Whilst the movie is about the challenges of dealing with homosexuality in a conservative society, at its premiere in downtown Tbilisi in November 2019, violent protests were taking place outside by far-right and religious groups. Thankfully the police kept the peace. But what a huge step forward for an ex-Soviet country, where not too long ago, being gay got you thrown into prison!
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, Georgia has pushed ahead with progressive laws as it has tried to ally itself more and more with the EU. This has included laws to protect its LGBTQ community, like legalising homosexuality in 2000, and an array of anti-discrimination laws from 2006 onwards. Yet, society remains very conservative. So much so that in 2018, the government passed a constitutional ban on gay marriages.
To put things into perspective, in a survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre in 2015/2016 about the acceptance of homosexuality in East Europe, Georgia ranked as one of the least tolerant, with a whopping 93% of the people polled saying homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
About Georgia Gay Life
We absolutely loved Georgia. It’s a stunning country with mountains, beaches, delicious foods, wines and a rich cultural heritage to discover. We were excited to experience all of this and we were not disappointed.
We were also fully aware of the country’s “struggle” (to put it mildly!) with LGBTQ rights before going. We knew we had to be cautious about PDAs. But we never had problems finding gay friendly hotels and even discovered lots of gay hangouts, including the famous Bassiani. The people we met were only ever super sweet and welcoming, and we loved them! But this is from our perspective as a gay couple travelling in Georgia. We wanted to get an idea of what things are really like from a local, so we got our friend Giorgi from Tbilisi to tell us more in this interview about Georgia gay life.