Drug Awareness: Nicotine

In 2018 smoking cigarettes is seen as a huge flaw in a person. We’ve come a long way in that sense, compared to the 1960’s when lighting up a cigarette was a clear sign of sophistication. It’s no longer a matter of debate that tobacco smoking is a huge health hazard to the smoker, the society at large, and the environment, on top of which it’s tremendously condemned by the society. Yet it’s still a widely practiced habit all over the world.

Use of tobacco originally sprung among the original inhabitants of North and South America, and was introduced to Europe and the rest of the world after the first voyage of Columbus. The first documented European to become a smoker was Rodrigo de Jerez, one of Columbus’s men, who tried tobacco with the natives. He instantly got addicted and tried to introduce tobacco to Europe after his return, instead people perceived him as possessed by the devil due to smoke coming out of his mouth and put him in jail. He can also be considered the first documented person to quit smoking cold turkey.

Around the 1600’s smoking spread to Europe, starting with King Philip II of Spain, Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh, who brought tobacco from the New World. Very soon it became fashionable for the aristocracy to smoke tobacco through long pipes. The first recorded person to oppose the idea of smoking was King James I of England, who wrote a lengthy treatise condemning the use of tobacco, calling smoking “a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lung.” Thought he did understand how addictive this substance was: “he that taketh tobacco saith he cannot leave it, it doth bewitch him.” Outside of Europe smoking was considered a western influence and was punished by the law, especially in Russia, China, Turkey, and Japan. But by the end of the seventeenth century everyone realized it was impossible to stop people from smoking, and penalties for tobacco use gradually vanished.

There’s different ways to ingest tobacco. One of the earliest forms was snuffing, or grinding a mixture of tobacco into a fine powder, placing or sniffing a punch into the nose, and exhaling it with a sneeze. In the 1700’s snuffing became the dominant form of tobacco use, especially in the French aristocracy, considering that sneeze a way to free your head from demons. It’s also pretty common for people to chew tobacco and spit it out, called dipping. Of course ingesting tobacco without smoke is no better than smoking, since other forms of cancer or diseases could arise. Still, the most common way is to smoke either thru cigars or cigarettes.

Tobacco consists of a lot of components, with three most important ones: carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine.

  • Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, but extraordinarily toxic gas. It’s formed when tobacco burns because the oxidation process is incomplete. It’s dangerous because it easily attaches itself to hemoglobin, the protein inside red blood cells, which are reserved for the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  • Tar is a collection of compounds, it’s quantity varies from 12 to 16 mg per cigarette and the last third of the cigarette contains about 50% of the tar. The main problem is that it’s so sticky it adheres to cells in the lungs and airways leading to them. Tar gets in the way of specialized cells for cleaning lungs, called cilia, so they can no longer function effectively.
  • Nicotine is a toxic, dependance-producing psychoactive drug found exclusively in tobacco. A pure drop of nicotine, of about 60 mg, on the tongue would instantly kill a healthy adult. 2-8 mg of nicotine is ingested per day for a pack-a-day smoker. Inhaled nicotine from smoking is absorbed extremely rapidly, passing through the blood-brain barrier and blood-placental barrier in pregnant women in a few seconds. The speed of nicotine would be much slower if not for the presence of ammonia as an addictive tobacco blend. The mixture of ammonia and nicotine increases the availability of nicotine in the blood, very similar to addition of alkaline materials like baking soda to cocaine to create crack cocaine. The effects of activating nicotinic receptors is the release of adrenaline which increases heart rate, to inhibit activity in the gastrointestinal system, reduction in muscle tone so that muscle tightness is decreased. Research has shown that smoking helps with sustain performance on monotonous tasks and improves short-term memory.

Titration Hypothesis proposes the idea that smokers adjust their smoking behavior to obtain a stable dose of nicotine from whatever cigarettes they are smoking. So by switching to lower nicotine content cigarettes (such as slims), they end up smoking more cigarettes to keep the same dose of nicotine in their bodies.

First time smokers often react to a cigarette with some nausea, dizziness, or vomiting. As tolerance develops, these effects typically disappear. The most evident dependance-related effect of smoking can be seen during withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms often include headache, inability to concentrate, irritability, drowsiness, and fatigue over the first 24 hours.

The adverse health consequences of tobacco use can be classified in three broad categories: cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. Smoking related deaths account to nearly one out of every five deaths in the USA every year, about 1,200 deaths a day. A person’s life is shortened by fourteen minutes with each cigarette, and smoking a pack a day for twenty years would account for four years lost. Most of the smokers start smoking at a very young age, mainly during their teenage years, some even as early as the fifth grade.

Types of cancer over the years which developed due to smoking:

In the 1920’s smoking was considered a “man’s privilege”, so during the uprise of female empowerment, women picked up the habit as well. Unfortunately, smoking affects women physically more than men. Women who smoke have a more than three times greater risk of dying from a stroke due to brain hemorrhaging and an almost two times greater risk of dying from a heart attack. If women smoke while taking birth control pills, the risk increases to twenty-two times and twenty times, respectively. Numerous problems could arise after giving birth even if the mother didn’t smoke during pregnancy.

The environment also takes a tole. Besides from the fact that cigarette butts can be found virtually anywhere, and they take a while to naturally decompose, the air gets horrifyingly polluted due to tobacco smoke. Around three-fourths of the nicotine originating from second-hand smoke end up in the atmosphere. Nonsmokers usually end up inhaling as much of n-nitrosamine (group of carcinogens) in one hour in a very smoky room as will a smoker after smoking ten to fifteen cigarettes.

The prevalence of smoking in many foreign countries far exceeds that of the USA, with much less concern from the public due to lack of awareness. In Japan, 53% of all adult men smoke cigarettes, and in China approximately 67% of all Chinese men smoke regularly. It’s clear that tobacco use on a global scale presents one of the most significant public health challenges we face in the 21st century. What’s even worse, global approaches to reducing the deadly effects of tobacco use are discouragingly weak of absent. Only 5% of the world’s population lives in a country in which there’s full support to treat tobacco dependence.

If you’re a coffee lover than you might be urged to quit due to this fact: Smokers eliminate caffeine from their bloodstream about 100% more quickly than nonsmokers. Thus, on average they experience the effect of caffeine they consume for a relatively shorter period of time, and end up drinking more coffee. So imagine how much money you would save on cigarettes AND coffee if you quit, and how much better your body would feel with less nicotine and caffeine in the bloodstream.

As hard as it is to quit though, it’s very possible, and is very encouraged. There are a lot of benefits to quitting, and a lot of the damage can be undone.

I myself grew up in Easter Europe, where smoking among teenagers is prevalent. I started smoking at a young age, and to this day I am haunted by the need for nicotine. When I read the research foe the first time, I was so shocked, that I decided to quit. May 23rd was my first day I quit smoking (not for the first time) and hopefully it will stick. I recommend getting an app called Smoke Free for iOS and Android. So far, I haven’t smoked, and I’m not planning on it. I think the number one step to quitting should be educating yourself on the harms of nicotine. See some tips for quitting smoking below.

I urge every smoker to learn more about what they’re doing to themselves, and together as a group we can put an end to this disgusting habit. If you decide to quit, let me know, so we can all support each other through these rough couple of months. I hope this article helped you get on a better path in life.

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Graphs & Citations:

Levinthal, Charles F. Drugs, Society, and Criminal Justice. Pearson, 2016.

Jarvik, Biological Influences, Schuckit, Drugs and Alcohol Abuse.

Payne and Hahn, Understanding Your Health.

Finding Your Spirit Animal via Meditation

A couple of days ago I was having a heartfelt conversation with a friend over coffee. We were talking about how we’ve grown as women, and how we’re proud of what we’ve become. We’ve both been through similar unfortunate experiences in life, such as abusive relationships, fake friends, betrayal, and more. So we were simply bonding over our past, laughing and complaining the whole time. Then she casually mentioned how this one time she tried to find her spirit animal through meditation. I looked at her in awe since she so nonchalantly mentioned something so important. She laughed at my shocked face, and told me about her journey.

“I was going through a rough time, so I decided to do an experiment. I was already meditating regularly at the time, but I wanted to take it to the next level. I lied down on my couch with my cat and turned on an audio guided meditation to find your spirit animal/guide. I closed my eyes, and started following the words. I was completely relaxed. I was going on a road, through different places, until I ended up at a library. At this library, I found a book. I looked into this book but I fell in, and I couldn’t get out. I got lost inside of this book, and I couldn’t find my way back. I felt disconnected from my body, I couldn’t wake up. I remember I was scared, terrified even. I thought this was it for me, until my cat started to purr so loudly that I woke up. I jumped up from the couch in complete shock. I still felt incomplete for hours, even after a cold shower. It was like some part of me didn’t return into my body. But the next morning I was fine. I just remember how scared I was the whole time. I don’t think I can do it ever again. If you ever do it, make sure to be ready. If you’re scared, it will only be worse.”

So that same night I decided to do it. I was lying on my bed, about to fall asleep when I put it on. I was sure that I was going to fall asleep as soon as the meditation started, but I did it anyway. In complete darkness I was lying on my back with my eyes closed, following the words, becoming more and more relaxed. The more relaxed I became, the more I started to spread out on the bed. When I reached the peak of my relaxation I was lying on my back spread out like a starfish. I kept following the words, I remember I felt so calm. I felt the energy coming out of my palms, and I remember that unintentionally I positioned my fingers into my meditation pose. I felt every grass that touched me, I smelt the ocean, I felt the breeze, I felt the warm light… And even though it wasn’t very easy for me to fall into the full trance, I kept telling myself to calm down and do it. And I did. According to the meditation towards the end, you look away from the fire, and behind you will be your spirit animal. So I remember I started to get nervous what if I don’t see anything. But I told myself to gather my courage, to look behind me, and if nothing is there then maybe I’m not ready to see it yet.

So I turned around, and at first I saw a dark silhouette of something. It was like a blob. As I got closer to it I started to see details. As I got even closer I finally saw what it was… I went to it, and I put my face against it. I hugged it, I remember the warmth. I remember the hope I felt, how I was filled with some new kind of energy. I started to cry. I opened my eyes, and I was crying. It felt like I found a part of me, something I lost years ago. And even though I was on the brink of falling asleep before the meditation, now I was wide awake and full of energy. So I ended up falling asleep around 7am.

I will not be sharing my spirit animal since it’s very personal to me. I want this to be a part of just me for a while, and even though I’m planning on getting a tattoo of it soon (which I will share I promise), until then I will keep it a secret. It’s a part of me, and me only. And to my dear friend, whom I messaged as soon as I stopped crying after the meditation: thank you. The reason I managed to go through with this is because I kept reminding myself not to be scared, and that’s what you told me. I know you’re planning on doing it now, and I’m happy you are. It might take three tries, or five, or just one, but as long as you are stepping out of your comfort zone, it’s already huge progress. I’m proud of you.

I advise everyone to try and find their spirit animal, to meditate, and to find their missing pieces inside. It will not do you any harm as long as you go in with an open mind, courage, and hope. Stay calm, and good luck in your journey.

If you do end up going there, please let me know about your experiences. I’m very interested in what you find. I look forward to hearing from you!

Nirvana – Kurt Cobain’s Journals

Who doesn’t know about Kurt Cobain? But just to be safe, I’ll give you a quick summary. Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Originally from Aberdeen, Washington he formed the band Nirvana with Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard in 1987 and established a new music scene now known as grunge. His death was tragic, and to this day unresolved. Some say it was suicide, some say it was a murder. After reading his journals, I believe it to be suicide since he often speaks about wanting to kill himself. But that’s not the point.

I grew up listening to Nirvana, was in love with Kurt Cobain (like any child going through a punk phase) and only now I got around to reading his journals. I stumbled upon this book by accident in my friend’s apartment, and immediately started to freak out. Of course discussing it in detail, page by page would be a tad too much, so I decided to pick my favorite journal entries and post them here.

Starting with his engaging simple writing, to his political opinions, drug related entries, and his art. It was very hard to pick these entries out of the hundreds that were in the collection, hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

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You know when you’re tired of the monotonous life? And just lie down in the grass and try to connect with the nature? Those little blobs you see in your eyes “swimming around”? Well that’s what Kurt decided to write about. “Just before I fall asleep and when I’m really bored I … Laydown and think for a while until I fall into a semi hypnotic state of subconsciousness , some call it daydreaming, some call it just fucking spacing out.” I included this in my blog because I find it so simple, relatable, and humanesque, especially that his calligraphy is so inconsistent that you are quick to assume that he was under the influence when writing this. In my personal opinion, it’s marijuana.

Now this next one is a little different compared to the one above. I’m not sure if he wrote this as an actual diary entry or if it was just a story he came up with, but I found it mesmerizing. He always has a recurring theme of boredom in his journals. “A finished anarchy sign spray painted on her robe … ‘After a while they became bored with vandalizing the church and went away to buy a gram. So I suggest we all just connect our vitals to this ancient cow milking Hookah and Relax, because the River will never dry up for it is fed by the mountains which will alway be addicted to boredom.'”

And then here’s his advice on seeing the after life… “If you want to know what the after life feels like, then put on a parachute go up in a plane, shoot a good amount of heroine into your veins and immediately follow that with a hit of nitrous oxide then jump. Or, set yourself on fire.”

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He was an amazing writer and a deeply sensitive man, with a lot of political opinions which I completely agree with. I will only be posting one since the rest of them are very long (up to 4 pages per entry), and I would feel bad to only post one page from the whole monologue. See one short opinion about the right wing below.

His sensitivity is best expressed in these couple of entries below. You can tell how he as a hard time opening up to people, how he feels silly for wanting to share his insecurities and he’s trying very hard to pin point his personality with bullet points (which seem unfinished).

Or how he takes the media’s review of his songs and writings so personally, being obviously offended.

And as said above, his hardship with finding someone to open up to. “I wish there was someone I could ask for advice, someone who wouldn’t make me feel like a creep for spilling my guts and trying to explain all the insecurities that have plagued me for oh, about 25 years now.”

But what I found the most interesting is that he goes through an emotional rollercoaster about his fame, saying how he doesn’t want it and then suddenly being extra appreciative to his fans. How he became an corporate toy, and made so much money that he still doens’t want to share.

But on top of everything else, I adore his little advise blobs in his journal. This one, I found the most sincere and adorable, and honest to god true. He gives some advise to boys, to stop looking for role models in their relatives, to stop trying to fit into their mindset and to stop acting to tough all the time. He tells boys it’s okay to be sensitive, to open up, and to not be mean to girls. I found it very heartwarming.

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Kurt Cobain was a known heroin addict, but the reason behind his addiction is less known. It’s often said that he started his heroin addiction due to his ex-wife, Courtney Love, but that’s not entirely true. Kurt suffered from Crohn’s disease, chronic stomach pain which made him vomit and want to kill himself, that drove him to self-medication with heroin. He often talks about it in his journals, see one of the entries below.

But he didn’t condone the use of drugs. In this entry below we can see that Kurt realizes how bad of a habit it is, and that it’s always better to find something else to fill the void. “Drug use is escapism whether you want to admit it or not…if your ego is too big to start at square one and go the psychological rehabilitation way, either way you’ve got at least 5 to 10 years of battle ahead of you.”

But then we see a different Kurt. In this entry below, for example, he shows completely different colors “…the stupid fucking British press bought the lie that I suffer from narcolepsy. Yeah talking about drugs.” What are we to believe, especially that this rant is followed by “…3 days later we went on a Australian tour and on to Japan during which I collected a very distressing stomach disorder.” Did the stomach pains come before of after his heroin use?

But heroin wasn’t the only drug he spoke about in his entries. Seems like he was also a big pothead, though he said that it didn’t help the pain anymore so he had to switch to heroin. See a small excerpt below.

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And now moving on to his art. He had a lot of scribbles in his entries, Nirvana merchandise sketches, music video scripts, and more. I decided to post these entries here out of the many. The first one I find very disturbing, how the earth is being pulled apart by a demonesque creature, though it’s also very symbolic. Mainly though, I think he was just trying to do a hardcore metallic drawing, cause he often talks about how he’s not hardcore enough.

I apologize for the bad quality of this picture, but to make it up to you I’ll write out the text here.

Mr. Moustache

Panel 1: “My son! Boy he’s gonna be quite a man. Listen to the power in those little strong legs! He’s gonna be a football player.”

Panel 2: “This kid better now be a lousy little girl. I want my very honest hard workin, jew, spic, nigger, and faggot hatin 100% pure beef american male! I’ll teach him how to work on cars and exploit women.

Panel 3: “AHH listen to those strong legs kick.”

Kurt shows all of his political opinions in this small comic strip, standing against racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and everything else that those type of “american males” stand for. Seems like he chose a southerner to represent this american male, with his rifle, hat collection, and his mustache. Luckily his son or daughter decided to kick right through his backwards brain. Good job Kurt.

And being a musician of course, his obsession with guitars was not news. Here’s a short clip of some of his guitar drawings in his entries. I wanted to include this since I find it a huge part of his personality.

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I understand this wasn’t a very refined article, I simply wanted to share my appreciation for such a legend. We are always quick to assume what kind of a person someone is without thinking much about what’s inside. So when someone tells you Kurt Cobain was a world famous rock star with a heroin (and more) addiction, you are quick to jump to conclusions what kind of a person he would be. But in reality, he was one of the most open minded, warm hearted, broken person, who just wanted to feel better, and to find somewhere to belong.

So please, before you decide what kind of a person someone is, make sure to dig a little deeper. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Citations:

Cobain, Kurt. Journals. Riverhead Books, 2003.

Silkscreen Tutorial and Andy Warhol’s Parody Painting by Elene Beridze

Andy Warhol, fka Andrew Warhola, was an American artist in the 60’s. He was the best known for his flamboyant character and was considered to be a leading figure for the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising, but he was also involved in silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture.

Originally from Pittsburg, Warhol worked in the advertising business as a commercial illustrator. After some of his exhibitions he started to gain recognition as an influential and controversial artist. His New York studio, The Factory, became a very popular gathering place for intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons. Warhol is also credited with coining the widely used expression 15 minutes of fame. In the late 60’s he managed and produced the experimental rock bang The Velvet Underground and founded Interview magazine. He lived openly as a gay man before the gay liberation movement.

Andy Warhol has a whole museum dedicated to him in his native city Pittsburg. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable, the highest price ever paid of a Warhol painting is $105 million for a 1963 canvas titles Silver Car Crash (double disaster).

Warhol was known for his silkscreening art, so I decided to do some research on how to do it. Appears that anyone can do this at home. Here’s a short tutorial:

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Supplies:

  • Screen and Frame, purchased either separately or together.
  • Photo emulsion and sensitizer.
  • A 250 watt bulb
  • Latex gloves and apron
  • A pitch black room
  • A piece of cloth you want to silkscreen
  • Squeegee
  • Silk screen fabric ink
  • Small piece of cardboard to put under the cloth

Step 1: Design Your Image

Try not to do anything too detailed for your first try, since it will take some practice to actually get it right. A simple silhouette should do.

Step 2: Coat the Screen in Emulsion

Mix the sensitizer and emulsion, cover the screen with this mixture evenly and leave it in a pitch dark room to try. This will take some time.

Step 3: Expose the Image on the Screen

Without turning on the lights, lay down the screen and frame with the screen side down on top of a black surface. Then lay the transparency down with scotch tape and move your lamp close to the screen. Aim the light bulb at the transparency and leave the room. Do not turn on any other lights, and in about 15 minutes carefully pull up the transparency.

Step 4: Clean the Screen

Spray your screen down with some water, though not too much pressure. The part where your image is will start to flake off, once it’s completely clear stop spraying it. Cover any exposed parts of the screen where there’s no photo emulsion or the image with tape.

Step 5: Print

Put the cloth you want to print on a cardboard to protect the other side (so stuff the cardboard in the shirt) and lay the screen on the part of the shirt you want to design. Pour some ink on the screen and using your squeegee run the ink up, down, left, and right a couple of times to push the ink through onto the cloth. Pull up the screen, remove the cardboard, and voila! That should be good.

Step 6: Longevity

To make sure that the image stays printed on for a while, throw in the cloth in the over on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 seconds. That should dry out the paint completely and ensure longevity.

Step 7: Clean up!

Make sure to clean the screen as soon as you’re done designing it, or it will stick to it forever.

If you end up doing this please feel free to email me your results! I’m very interested in how it will turn out.

Thank you to Lifehacker for posting the tutorial according to which I made my shirt (which I will not post since it came out a disaster).

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It’s one of my life goals to own a Campbell’s Soup silkscreening by Warhol, so being a huge fan of his art I decide to create a parody of my own. The sizes of the frames in this painting are identical to the originals, that was the only part that I sketched out before starting to paint.

This painting was done on a 80x100cm repainted canvas, meaning there’s a different painting under the white paint. I used oil paint for this particular piece, and the background literally took 3 1/2 weeks to dry. You can imagine my frustration since I was very enthused about this painting. My piece was based on these silkscreens as seen below, I’d also like to add that these art pieces sell for $11.7 million.

In my defense, first of all, I’ve never taken any art classes in my life, so being a self-taught artist I do adore my own work. Of course I understand that it’s far from perfect, and even farther from what I wanted it to look like I’m still proud of it. Second of all, being away from my easel and paint for 5 years kept me away from painting for a while. Last time I painted something was probably 3-4 years ago, so I’m also a little rusty. Third of all, all of the brushes that I own are stiff and dried out, meaning I had to work with veeeery old and bad material, but I was also too broke and lazy to buy anything new.

After sketching out the frames, I decided to just wing it with the rest of it. I started with the red. This is what this piece looked like for about 3 days before it completely dried.

Then after adding some details and drawing the frames, I realized that it looked too plain. So I decided to put a twist on it, and changed up some frames and soup cans. It’s not noticeable in the pictures here but each of the can has a letter from my full name in the yellow circle. So basically this painting spells ELENE BERIDZE. I was pleasantly surprised how that happened without me actually planning for it.

All of the cans look 2D in this piece, since my brushes were too stiff actually create a good curve. The hardest part was actually writing the type of soup it was, so I had to improvise and make it look fun, if you look closer you’ll see that some of the soups say “Chikin Soup” or “Beefy” and “Porky”.

Everyone’s favorite can is the one that’s pouring out of the frame in the bottom left corner. Makes sense, since it’s the only one that looks like it has volume. The colors were pretty on point, but to add some zaz to this piece I decided to make one of the cans green, in the end it just came out looking sloppy. One of the cans also had angel wings but I decided to scratch it off cause it just looked cheesy.

I’m not crazy about my work, but I’m still proud of it. I hung it up in my bedroom and it’s the first thing I look at when I wake up. I’m using it as inspiration to keep working harder so I can actually create what I want at some point.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and my painting. See you in two days!

May 17, The International Day Against Homophobia vs. The Georgian Church

On May 17, 1990 a decision was made to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Disease of the World Health Organization. The founders of the International Day Against Homophobia established the IDAHO Committee to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights works worldwide.

The main purpose of this day is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide. It gives an opportunity to engage with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society. This day is particularly popular in Europe and Latin America.

As of 2012, very few countries have passed legislation at the federal level that include full-fledged legal recognitions of LGBT couples such as marriage, adoption, inheritance, and insurance rights, despite the efforts of the May 17 movement.

Georgia decided to take part in this international event for the first time in 2013. The gay rights activists holding the rally were met by thousands of protestors opposing homosexuality, who broke through the police cordon and got very aggressive with the protestors. Behind such aggression was The Georgian Orthodox Church. Two days before this rally, Ilia II, the head of the Church, called for banning the gay rights rally, describing homosexuality as an “anomaly and disease”. The government though, was on the LGBT side, when the Prime-minister at the time stated that LGBT individuals “have the same rights as any other social groups” a day before the rally.

The violence that took place at this rally five years ago was widely condemned by international and local organizations. See the pictures from the 2013 protest below.

With the recent protests going on (See “Bassiani Nightclub Raid in Tbilisi and the Youth Protest ‘Dance for Our Freedom‘” and “Homophobic and Hateful Crowd Opposing the ‘Dance for Our Freedom’ Youth Protest”) we were hoping that today’s event would not get violent.

But instead the LGBT community cancelled their event in Tbilisi since they were scared of backlash. Especially that the Georgian Orthodox Church decided to hold an event simultaneously on the 17th. They call it the “Day of Family Sanctity” (Geo: ოჯახის სიწმინდის დღე). This day was created to protest LGBT freedom, calling the gay lifestyle a sin and unaccaptable. As I’m writing this, the church is celebrating this new holiday. In the Kashveti Church near the Parliament building hundreds of families are gathering to get blessed, married, baptized, or more. The Kashveti Church is the main one for this event, since it’s the closest to where protests are usually held in the capital – near the Parliament on the Freedom Square. That’s where the LGBT community was supposed to gather.

The Church is planning on celebrating this holiday in every church in the capital, after which they expect for people from different regions to arrive, then are are planning on walking to the biggest church in Tbilisi, The Sameba Church (Eng: The Trinity Church).

But this is not it. To protest the LGBT rally this year, the Fascist group was also planning to gather near the Rustaveli Metro. This is the same group that showed up at the “Dance for Our Freedom” protest, cursing (see the links below the pictures above). They consider the LGBT community “dirty” and their plan was to break through the police and beat up everyone that showed up at the rally, similar to what they did in 2013.

Thankfully the leader (not the head of the group) of the Fascist gathering and one more person were arrested at the Rustaveli metro this morning. They said they were gathering at the Metro to join the church event. At the interrogation they said there were so few of them due to repression in this country. You can see a picture from the arrest below.

So it’s quite understandable why the LGBT community decided to cancel their event. History was bound to repeat itself, but this time it could have been worse. The Fascists and the Church were already enraged after the weekend of protests, and were expected to get very aggressive today.

On top of everything else, the latest news report that there’s a knight on Rustaveli. Yes, you read that right. A knight. We’re not sure what he’s protecting, but he’s apparently riding the horse around the streets of the capital. See below.

Obviously I couldn’t help myself and turned this into a meme. Click here to see.

There were numerous reports of people saying they felt accomplished that the LGBT community didn’t have their rally today. The head of the fascist group, who is also in custody, said that was their only goal for today.

But jokes on them. There will be a LGBT rally at 17:00 today. I will not be disclosing the location for their safety. Police officers are already there, the streets have been closed off.

They can’t stop us from bringing equality and freedom to our country. We are the future of this country, and we will make it brighter.