Transgender woman sets herself on fire in downtown Tbilisi
A transgender woman tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire in front of the Tbilisi City Hall in order to draw attention to the crisis in which she has found herself.
She was rescued by police and taken to the hospital with multiple burns. She is not in danger.
Madonna Kiparoidze turned to extreme form of protest after she faced the threat of being left without a roof over her head. She says that she was left without work and could not pay for her rented apartment.
“The state does not care about me, and I have no choice but to commit suicide in order to draw attention to my problems,” Kiparoidze said at a transgender rally in front of the city hall.
It was during this rally that she tried to commit suicide.
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Transgender women who participated in the campaign say they live in extreme poverty. Most of them have been rejected their families, and they have to rent housing and work very hard.
The coronavirus pandemic has made their situation even more difficult.
Non-governmental organizations have helped 50 or so transgender women pay rent for one month.
Now they need to pay for a second month, and are asking for help from the state. First of all, they need some kind of housing. So far, neither the Tbilisi City Hall nor any other state structure has provided them any assistance.
“I don’t know what to say about a state, which cannot help just 50 people who are the most forgotten about by society, and only for a month or two,” wrote human rights activist Ida Bakhturidze on her Facebook page.
The organization Movement for Equality appealed to the government with a request to support LGBTQ individuals in difficult times.
“The restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic affected transgenders most of all. Many have lost their jobs, but these people do not have social support, help from family and relatives,” the statement said.
Civil society activists produced a video calling for help for transgender people who have been left without work, and included LGBT individuals.
This project is funded through the Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, U.S. Embassy Tbilisi. The contents of this publication are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of State.