Empowering Parents of LGBT People
EWMI ACCESS supports “Tbilisi Pride” in its efforts to support and empower families of LGBT persons.
Since LGBT people in Georgia are often marginalized and neglected, support and love from their families are pivotal. Nonetheless, families are often unable to accept and/or support their queer family members because of social stigma and peer pressure.
To help family members become more resilient and protect the rights of their children/siblings, in 2020 Tbilisi Pride formed a network of family members of LGBT persons, called “Proud Families”. The network members went through individual and group psychological counseling, attended informational seminars and discussions on LGBT issues, and participated in a retreat/workshop where they spent several days together. During the workshop participants had the opportunity to share their personal experiences and their children’s coming-out stories; they also received professional advice from psychologists on how to respond to their children’s coming-out and how to support them during this difficult time.
This May, a similar workshop was held with the participation of both old and new members of the network. Even though initially only parents who openly accepted their children’s queer identity were recruited, this year the network also invited parents who are struggling to accept their children’s coming-out.
“This project helps people become better parents and/or siblings to their queer family members” – stated Tbilisi Pride’s representative, Tamaz Sozashvili. According to him, research proves that LGBT people who have support from their families are happier and healthier, while those who are neglected by their families face a three-time increased risk of suicide, substance dependence, and other problems.