Georgia attacks and Samuel Luiz

  • 08/07/2021

Having celebrated Pride Month in June, we’ve crashed hard to earth with two horrendous events occurring in the last week which have highlighted why Pride and allyship are more important now than ever before.

Tbilisi Pride

On Monday, the offices of Tbilisi Pride in Georgia were attacked by far right thugs who scaled a building to break into their headquarters, and attacked over 50 journalists.  One Polish tourist was allegedly attacked for wearing an earring.  Astoundingly, the country’s Prime Minister appeared to claim the Pride organisers had provoked the violence, saying it was “unreasonable” to hold the demonstration in a public place that could lead to “civil confrontation”.  The organisers have now cancelled the event on safety grounds.

Samuel Luiz

Over the weekend, a 24-year-old gay man, Samuel Luiz, was attacked outside a nightclub in Spain by 12 men and beaten to death.  Seemingly, his only “crime” was being gay.  The Spanish community responded with wide-spread protests across the country and the Spanish prime minister’s response has been somewhat more progressive than that of Georgia’s, with him saying “I’m confident that the police investigation will soon find those who murdered Samuel and shed light on what happened”.  “It was a savage and merciless act. We will not take a step backwards when it comes to rights and freedoms and Spain will not tolerate this.”

Pride in 2021

This is why we need Pride.  These events and others like them risk LGBT+ individuals hiding for risk of being attacked or even killed for being who they are.  I may think twice about holding my partner’s hand on a busy Friday or Saturday night in Manchester for fear of what might happen.  This fear isn’t something that even need enter the mind of straight people.

What Can I do?

Be an ally.  Tbilisi Pride are raising funds to increase security and transport their staff by taxi.  If you are able to donate, please do.  You can do so via PayPal to [email protected].  If you witness homophobic behaviour, don’t ignore it.  If it’s within your family or friend group, call it out and educate the individual concerned.  If it’s on a night out, consider being an active bystander – engage the victim in conversation to show them they’re not on their own.