An Executive Summary of the organization
Identoba, was founded on the principles of inclusion by promoting acceptance of socially marginalized groups and bringing diverse communities together by showing them the power of unity, self-advocacy and mutual support. Identoba is one the largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) rights NGO in Georgia, with the mission to promoting establishment of such a society, where sexual orientation and gender self-expression would not be the ground for discrimination, as democratic, coherent and strong society is inconceivable without full integration of LGBT people, as well as any other socially marginalized group. Identoba has three immediate objectives:
A) fostering LGBT movement and stronger LGBT community in Georgia,
B) Advocacy and lobbying of LGBT rights in Georgia and
C) Promotion of healthy sexual lifestyle among LGBT and lobbying LGBT sensitive policies.
The organization’s history
Identoba was established on November, 8, 2010 following the dissolution of Inclusive Foundation, country’s first LGBT organization in 2006-2010. Identoba was founded by a group of Gender Studies specialists and LGBT activists. It became operational in December 2010. International donors such as COC Netherlands (a Dutch organization for LGBT men and women) and RFSU (Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) helped Identoba’s organizational development.
In late 2011- early 2012 Identoba secured core funding from Open Society Foundation and was able to expand policy oriented research, policy level work and legal research and direct assistance services, in addition to engaging LGBT community and allies, media and educational work, and counseling services.
In 2012, with sensitization program for students, for the first time in Georgia, regional university students have been given the opportunity to attend lectures and discussions in their universities, participate in trainings and attend 1st national LGBT student conference.
Identoba organized Georgia’s first march on May 17, 2012 for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia that has greatly influenced both Georgian politics, as it put dividing line between politicians who have been requested to demonstrate their stance towards LGBT issues. The march was also hailed as Georgia’s first LGBT pride, an important accomplishment itself.
Identoba frequently teams up with various embassies and international organization to co-organize LGBT themed events, such as LGBT film festival in June, 2012. Identoba is now starting to work in a policy field through assessing the gaps in addressing LGBT issues in existing practices and policies. Identoba has gained access to Georgian prisons, with the support of Ministry of Penitentiary and Legal Assistance and plans to conduct a baseline study about the situation of MSM (men who have sex with men) in Georgian prisons. The study which is supported by Swiss embassy will serve as a baseline resource for developing recommendations and policies for the government to address the violation of the rights of MSM in prison, as well as to take appropriate measures for preventing HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) transmission.
Identoba is widely recognized by the community, donors and local non-profits and international missions and representations as the LGBTQI organization who works to promote LGBT cause in the country. It researches and engages LGBT community. The scope of the organization’s work spans areas as diverse as community empowerment programs, training programs, educational activities, supportive consultation, rights advocacy, legal representation, media work and research.
Identoba researches hate crimes and hate speech against individuals and groups having different identities and organizes campaigns to counter these problems. It provides equal rights and opportunities to LGBTQI individuals and strives for their integration into Georgian society.