Georgia’s Oldest Gay Bar Faces Uncertain Future Amidst Anti-LGBTQ Laws

In Tbilisi, Georgia, the future of Success, the city’s oldest gay bar, hangs in the balance amidst the looming threat of anti-LGBTQ laws proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party. These laws, reminiscent of similar legislation in Russia and Hungary, seek to ban the promotion of same-sex relationships, prohibit sex changes, and outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption. While the laws would not directly target gay bars, their implications could be far-reaching, potentially discouraging LGBTQ gatherings and events and creating a climate of fear within the community.

LGBTQ rights groups, such as Tbilisi Pride, have vehemently opposed the proposed laws, citing the escalating political homophobia witnessed in recent years. Last year, the group’s pride event in a park far from the city center was met with violent protests, forcing attendees to flee. The government’s inaction during the incident has left a bitter aftertaste, prompting the group to cancel plans for Pride Week and other events this year.

The proposed laws have also raised international concerns, with the European Union warning Georgia that such legislation could jeopardize its path towards joining the bloc. Despite these concerns, the ruling party has indicated its intention to consider the bills during the current parliamentary session, a move seen by the opposition as an attempt to appease conservative voters and distract from more pressing issues.

LGBTQ Georgians face an uncertain future as the proposed laws could further alienate and marginalize them. Tbilisi Pride’s co-founder, Mariam Kvaratskhelia, has expressed fears that the measures could force many LGBTQ individuals to leave the country. However, she vowed to remain steadfast in her fight for LGBTQ rights, pledging to launch information campaigns and mobilize support ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in October.

As the debate over the anti-LGBTQ laws unfolds, the future of Success and the broader LGBTQ community in Georgia remains uncertain. The outcome of the parliamentary session and the response from the Georgian people will shape the fate of LGBTQ rights in the country for years to come.

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