LGBTQI activist organization Identoba encountered a wave of harassment from extremist and fundamentalist groups in its home country of Georgia for its participation in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on May 17, 2012.
On the day of the event, violence erupted as religious extremists confronted protestors, leading to physical and verbal abuse, as well as the arrest of several activists by government security forces.
“This grant has allowed us to enlarge the scope and coverage to reaching out to women, especially LGBT women… Since then, we have offered the space to various LGBT artists to host their exhibitions, to feminist activists to host lectures and public talks, to women’s organizations to host their events, and Identoba’s staff has organized a series of workshops and trainings for the community members in rights, activism, well-being and sexual health.”
– Identoba’s Executive Director, Irakli Vacharadze
Following on the heels of IDAHO, the Georgian parliament presented a legal draft to introduce laws to criminalize homosexuality in the former Soviet republic. The increasingly hostile, homophobic environment led to a rise in threats towards Identoba’s staff and clients, and without a safe alternative, Identoba closed its offices.
Instead of giving up, Identoba requested support from Urgent Action Fund to relocate their offices to a more secure location. In less than a week, Identoba received a $5,000 rapid response grant to temporarily cover rental costs of a new space. This allowed Identoba to resume their important work to promote LGBTQI rights in a safe setting and to expand its services to the LGBTQI community in Georgia, through new events, workshops and trainings.