Dadu, 38, Tbilisi

“I first realized it at the age of eight or nine, when I discovered that I developed ‘strange’ feelings towards girls. I was a smart child and of course, I started to rationalize it. What is happening and why is it happening to me? I was not scared, though. I just accepted myself.

Two years ago, I had a relationship with one girl. We met for two years; we were passionately in love and wanted to be together. For this, we had to endure a lot of threats (almost at gunpoint) and intimidation from her parents. I haven’t had parents for 10 years now. Sometimes I think that if they were alive it would be too much for them to bear. However, on the other hand, I want to hug them, cling to them, hide behind their backs and tell them “yes, I am scared, yes, I am suffering and yes, I need to feel the sympathy of someone… anyone. I know it’s wrong to talk like that but this is the sad truth. I want that. Being strong all the time is exhausting.

Do you know what the toughest part is? Not being attacked or having our throats slit or having our earrings torn away or being hit for nothing… All of this will pass; it will all be healed. The worst part is the parent’s reaction. I’ve heard from many parents who, on learning about their child’s ‘different’ sexual orientation, have said “I don’t have a child any more”. Why? How can you NOT have a child? If you have had her or him for 20 years or 15 years, how come you suddenly don’t have them? Why? What for? Because you child has the gift of love and is in love? You like to shove the demographic problem down our throats, but the biggest problem is that you are rejecting your own children, the ones you’ve raised, and force them to reject you too.

So many people’s mental health has been challenged, and so many people live under terrible pressure. This is horrible. At the end of the day, we are all humans. Nobody has descended from the heavens, and nobody has a pair of wings at home. We are all human beings”.