Monday, 23 March 2009

4th annual GALAS Armenian GLBT conference

"The Road to Equality: The Past, Present and Future of the Gay Rights Movement"

Saturday 18 April 2008

This year with prop.8 in the forefront, GALAS [LA Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society] is focusing the conference sessions on the important political issues relating to GLBT Civil Rights.

There are three sessions scheduled for the conference with excellent and notable speakers!

Session one, "Rear View Mirror: The History of the Gay Movement," we have invited Dr. Hale, a professor from CSUN and the Director of the Gender Studies Department. He is assembling a panel of speakers including guests who will speak about Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative, etc.

Session two, "Detours: Current Events," will concentrate on Prop. 8 and what is happening right now in the California Supreme Court. The time line of the second session will start with why and how Prop. 8 was on the ballot, the election, and what has subsequently happened since the passing of prop. 8. The guest panel will include lawyers from Lambda Legal, representatives from the Gay and Lesbian Center, and managers of Vote for Equality Campaign who will speak about all aspects of prop 8 (the social, cultural, legal aspects...)

Session three, "The Road Ahead" will concentrate on action steps that need to be taken in the near and far future. This session will also include discussion about what plans are in gear with whatever decision is made by the California Supreme Court. Details are still in the works to make this an exciting session to conclude our conference. We will also speak about GALAS' future and its role in protecting LGBT Civil Rights.

GALAS Education/Resource Committee


Paco said...

Mika don't you think that movement in Armenia and Armenian driven movement in Diaspora is very much distant and disconnected?

It is not like you trying to connect back. This is pity to me.

Why do not they try to bring some one from Armenia to that conference? What is the added value of this conference for the US? I bet there are hundreds of groups there who can make very similar event. Why do not they make it distinct and relevant to their title?

I understand that the Society does not aim to connect back but be a unity of those LG people living in LA Armenian community, but still... It would have been nice to be more supportive to movement at home like Armenian Diaspora does in General to aid republic of Armenia.

artmika said...

Paco, let me reflect some of your concerns the way I see it.

I think it’s great that Armenian LGBT group is involved in a broader gay rights agenda, as we all share the ultimate aim of equality and human rights. Contribution and added value of LGBT Armenians in California for the US should not be underestimated. There is huge Armenian community there, which constitute a big part of the electorate able to influence elections and voting, including that on Proposition 8 etc. This is something which will directly affect not only local LGBT Armenians, but have US-wide influence and impact too. This, in turn, could have an influence on California’s Armenian Diaspora, in general, where homophobic mentality is still prevalent, and indirectly may have an impact on Republic of Armenia too, via world headlines, US and Diaspora influences.

Therefore, I would only encourage such involvement.

However, I do share your concerns that there is no proper connection between movements and groups in Armenia and Diaspora. Yes, as of now, they are pretty much disconnected and distant, although some efforts are being made to rectify the situation.

In past, among Armenian LGBT groups in Diaspora, only AGLA France was directly supporting LGBT people and groups in Armenia. Now that AGLA France ceased to exist, our New York based group is aiming to do some work to fill in the gap. Hopefully, at some point soon, we will see the results of their support. As far as I am aware, overall, Armenian LGBT group in LA – GALAS, has a focus on local Armenian community. There may have been some specific examples of support for Republic of Armenia citizens and groups, but I am not aware of any systematic involvement. People in GALAS are doing great job for local LGBT Armenians, providing all sort of support which similar types of organisations do.

I do wish, however, that out oldest and biggest group in LA gets involved in Armenia LGBT issues too. And I agree, it’s a bit strange that Armenian GLBT conference does not have Armenia related discussion outlined in its conference programme. I do not know if they invited anyone from Armenia, but it would have been certainly a right thing to do.