Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sexuality: Education is key even for many "well-educated" Armenians

This small extract from a blog post I found by chance details an experience of gay Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia. Nothing surprising here, really. Just an additional prove that even the most "progressive", "well-educated" Armenians are frequently lacking knowledge on sexuality, homosexuality and related subjects. And this is not an exclusively straight person's problem. Many gay Armenians need similar education too. As one of them - now infamously - told me: "I am not gay, I am man".

"For John, being gay in Armenia meant that he would never be able to admit, even his closest friends, the real reason why he did not have a girlfriend and that there was next to no chance he would be able to have any kind of relationship for two years. He described to me one time when the subject of homosexuality came up in a conversation with one his close, well-educated, female, Armenian friends. In this conversation she said she could not understand why a cure had not been found for this disease or why there was not more treatment available for these poor, troubled people. Using most of his considerable self-control, John attempted to explain that it was not in fact a disease or problem but rather a different preference that people are born with. The friend would have none of it and insisted that she had seen studies proving otherwise. I suppose I should not have been too surprised; a lot of American’s views are not very different."


John said...

That was me who Travis was talking about in his post. It was one of the most revealing experiences I had here on just how backwards Armenian mentalities are towards sexual diversity.

Though the first part of his post is no longer accurate; after coming back from 3 weeks in Europe I've realized how damaging to my sense of self living in the closet has been and have resolved to be completely out here for the rest of my time (one more year) in this country. The consequences be damned; it's not worth it to me anymore to remain in the closet here.

artmika said...

My congratulations, John. Hope you will feel better and will be able to enjoy the rest of your stay fuller, without much problems. It should be easier (fingers crossed!) for you to be open, as Armenians are normally more tolerant towards foreigners than locals in terms of being 'different', be that sexual orientation, dress code etc.