On April 30, 2020, Madona Kiparoidze, a Tbilisi native transgender sex worker, set herself on fire in an act of protest against the Georgian government. Kiparoidze is at the nucleus of a movement lambasting the conservative Georgian Dream regime for its purposeful denial of COVID-19 coverage to the transgender community. Like Kiparoidze, many trans people across the Caucuses are now relying on help from the Georgian capital’s burgeoning LGBTQ+ support network as their resources run dry.
Kiparoidze is the lens through which Chloé Lula investigates discrimination against transgender people in Georgia. She documents lives that are otherwise undocumented in a time of crisis, and examines, on a broader scale, the steps a marginalized group has taken towards attaining visibility in a deeply religious and socially conservative post-Soviet democracy.