Rusa Jijelava, 22, Tbilisi

„I have already come out to the family and my friends. I live with my mother. My father is no longer alive. I do not remember exactly whether I was 17 or18 years old when I came out. First I fell in love with a fellow classmate, who was a girl, and I realized everything but being surrounded by ‘standard’ people I could not tell this to any of my friends. I could not think of anything, so I told my mother. I wanted to tell this to someone to get some advice on what to do because I felt confused. I did not know any homosexuals around and I was not sure whether that was normal or not. I did not know any LGBT people except for me in that period. In short, I told my mother, who had kind of already guessed. I am not sure how she could guess that – probably from my behavior or maybe from my glance. She told me: “somehow I have already put up with that“. I had not been exactly aware of her possible reaction but I had thought she would have responded negatively. I just needed to tell someone, I could not bear that any longer.

Initially she took it sort of normally. Her reaction was neither negative nor positive, it was somewhat neutral. For a long time she thought that after some period I would become disinterested and fall in love with some guy. She did not take my sexual orientation seriously. She thought this was a mere curiosity, just another experiment of mine because I have many interests. However, recently I have tried to explain to her that this is not the case, to prevent her from thinking that I will fall in love with a guy. Eventually I brought my girlfriend home and introduced her to my mother officially. “What else can I possibly do?” I told her. She says that she wants me to be happy but, in her heart of hearts, she hopes that I will change. I think she is more concerned about the people surrounding her rather than my orientation. Her immediate circle, represented by her coworkers at her job, is homophobic; they will find my orientation different and she fears that they will dislike her too“.