Misinformation, manipulation, propaganda, and myths are one of the most powerful tools for controlling the public. This became especially clear during the pandemic, when any lie about vaccines spread by completely unreliable, fake accounts was more convincing to a part of the society than the advice and recommendations from authoritative organizations and doctors.
Both before and after, similar narratives are actively used to control our moods and views. And special efforts are made against queer people and try to convince us that queers are dangerous and unacceptable.
Not only homophobic, pro-Kremlin and violent groups do to this. Political homophobia, which often sounds directly from the government tribune, plays an equally harmful role.
In this article, we will examine the propagandist narratives that are being spread and prove that they are groundless.
First of all, we have to agree that there is no such thing as “LGBT propaganda”. This collocation itself was created by propagandistic narratives and aims to sow irrational fears in groups vulnerable to misinformation, and to cause aggression in homophobic groups.
The non-existent “LGBT propaganda” is being actively fought in Russia. Leaders of the aggressor state ban movies, books and even Facebook posts that concern the fundamental human rights. They claim that even talking about it violates other people’s rights and interferes with their way of life, which is a clear lie. But these narratives are not alien to Georgia either – homophobes sometimes worry about the screening of queer films, or the hanging of the LGBT flag.
Unfortunately, politicians are talking about it too. For example, the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, spoke at the international conference of conservatives in Hungary, as if they are trying to cut off people from their families and traditions by “destroying” traditional, family values, “false freedom, and LGBT propaganda for minors”. Gharibashvili repeated the same thing a few days later, when he told journalists that they will not allow “violence from the and their aggressive propaganda against the majority of our population.” He answered the criticism and questions with a question himself and addressed the journalist: “Is the unbridled propaganda going on in some countries regarding the sex change acceptable to you?”
We will not specify what phrases are heard on this issue from the violent Alt-Info. Let’s just answer one question: what do Gharibashvili or pro-Russians call “LGBT propaganda”? — the right to exist in public space and enjoy freedom of expression. According to their narratives, talking about the problems of the LGBTQ+ community, sexual orientation or gender discrimination is violence against society, as if discussing the oppression or life of queer people would lead someone to become queer themselves.
In reality, by spreading information, we help people to learn more about their rights and sexuality in a homophobic, heteronormative society. Not knowing this does not improve their lives, but the opposite.
“Homosexuality is Contagious”
It is important to remember that sexual orientation is not a choice and no one can force a heterosexual to become gay and vice versa. The orientation will not change either by reading this article or by acknowledging that LGBTQ+ people are oppressed and their rights are restricted.
And let’s not forget the simple truth, that this is not a disease that can be reversed if one learns more about and interacts with queer people. Sexual orientation cannot be formed or changed during one’s upbringing. Therefore, it’s an attempt to manipulate people with fear, that children should be protected from “propaganda”.
“LGBT Activism Means Being an Enemy of the Country”
This is another propagandistic narrative we hear from politicians. Queer people are constantly asked to be quiet, to themselves, at home or in closed spaces. Any attempt to use public space is considered a provocation.
This is what happened during the 2021 Pride Festival. On July 5, the Prime Minister encouraged violence and called the event planned by Tbilisi Pride a provocation, while violent groups were standing on the street and preparing to disrupt the peaceful march. After the pro-Russians raided the activists’ offices and assaulted about 50 media representatives, one of whom, Lekso Lashkarava, died a few days later, the Prime Minister spoke again about the provocation. But this was not about Alt-Info, whose representatives organized the homophobic gathering, or the priests who encouraged the violence, but the activists who were abused.
Georgian Dream and the people connected to the party are trying to convince us that by talking about their rights, the importance of visibility and planning similar events, activists are harming the country and “provoking” the population. It’s as if because Russian-led groups don’t “accidentally get angry” and engage in organized violence, which the state has a direct obligation to prevent, people have to hide and fail to enjoy their constitutional right to freedom of expression even a few times a year.
These manipulative thoughts are talked about more widely by radical groups, and LGBT activists from Europe are also called agents, whose goal is to organize coups in the country. Imagine how absurd this accusation would be if the “majority” was leading the action to protect fundamental rights.
“Gender Does Not Exist”
This is the most common form of myth that easily affects people who do not have enough information. At this time, homophobes are telling us that this thought has existed only in the last couple years and that from the beginning only female and male sexes existed and the world developed only with their coexistence.
First of all, it is important to distinguish sex and gender. Sex is a biological characteristic assigned at birth, while gender is a broad concept — a socially constructed role, a combination of human perception, self-expression, or societal standards.
We should also discuss gender identity, which is often misunderstood due to stereotypical approaches. To put it simply, gender identity is what gender you identify with, while orientation is about sexual and romantic interests.
So, we should not believe it when homophobic groups say that all this is made up, does not exist and we should limit ourselves to the gender of women and men. Don’t believe that everything is an attempt to “fight traditional values” and destroy the world in recent years, because LGBTQIA+ people have existed for centuries. Innovations are only the terms that have been refined over the years, as a result of the acquisition of new knowledge. Now you know their meaning too.
“Connection” of Clothes and Accessories to Sexual Orientation
You have probably often heard that some women are not gentle, refined and neat enough. This sexist approach requires less feminine women and non-masculine men to conform to stereotypical views. People who deviate from the heteronormative doctrine are given labels. For example, for years boys with long hair or earrings were considered gay, as well as the girls with short hairstyles who preferred wearing pants to dresses.
It is necessary to remember that clothing and forms of self-expression are not directly related to sexual orientation. Any guy with colored hair may or may not be gay, because having a non-standard appearance and style does not automatically mean that a person is queer.
Read more from Media April: