Horrific homophobic threats force one of Georgia’s only LGBT-inclusive churches to close
An LGBT-inclusive church in Tbilisi, Georgia, has been forced to close its doors following threats of homophobic violence.
The US Episcopal Church’s Mission of St Nino is the only church in the whole country that blesses same-sex couples and one of two which welcome LGBT+ folk.
On 5 July, a far-right mob violently rioted in Tbilisi in protest against a planned Pride march, leaving more than 50 journalists who were covering the event injured, including one cameraman who subsequently died.
Nino Bajelidze, a member of the church’s congregation and a co-founder of Tbilisi Pride, told Church Times: “On 5 July, when hate groups led by [the] Georgian Orthodox Church had [an] anti-gay protest, they beat 53 journalists and cameramen; also in this day our active parish member was beaten because his friend was wearing pink trousers.”
The parish member was beaten by a group led by an Orthodox priest. He survived the attack, and is recovering at home.
Having been open in its support of Tbilisi Pride, declaring on Facebook that “every person is equal, regardless of sexual orientation”, the episcopal church has now been forced to close its doors due to the threat of further violence.
Bajelidze continued: “Last Sunday, we were not able to have [a] service in church because we have fear of hate groups. We plan not to gather in church on the following Sunday. We are looking forward with hope and ask for your prayers.”
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