Rights Group Appeals Georgian Gov’t over Attempted Self-Immolation by Transgender Woman

The Equality Movement, a local human rights group focusing on LGBTQ rights, released a statement on April 30 in response to an attempted self-immolation by a transgender woman, appealing to the Georgian Government to take heed of LGBTQ people’s needs and address their needs amid COVID-19 state of emergency.

On April 30, a Georgian media outlets disseminated a video depicting what was said to be a deliberate attempt of suicide by a transgender woman who set herself on fire outside Tbilisi City Hall, where a number of transgender people were protesting precarious living conditions compounded by the coronavirus fallout. The woman was later hospitalized.

“We are aware that we are running a risk when talking about suicide or self-harm [of inciting others to emulate], but we can’t stay silent, as transgender people were protesting dire economic conditions besetting their lives,” Equality Movement stated.

The human rights group argued that transgender people were hit hardest by coronavirus-related emergency restrictions, for they are devoid of social support and solidarity from their families and relatives.

Equality Movement underlined that its own efforts – fundraising and other supporting activities since the onset of the pandemic – were not “enough” to meet the needs of the vulnerable group.

Equality Movement appealed to the State not to neglect “needs” of LGBTQ people in the framework of its anti-crisis plan. It stressed that “the state should recognize necessities of transgender people, who are left without access to accommodation, income, food and other basic amenities.”

The human rights group called on the Government to provide LGBTQ people with housing allowance or emergency shelters. It further called for taking heed of the needs of the most vulnerable group amid the pandemic and offer relevant support.

It also appealed to Georgian media outlets to “take into consideration risks of reporting such events in live coverage” without providing necessary follow-up on the wider picture – transgender people’s predicament in general.

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