Thursday, 29 October 2009
Basically, it’s an Armenian version of highly popular Russian TV show Nasha Russia.
One of the central story-lines there is gay related. Other story-lines from time to time cross that topic too.
However, while Russian main gay character is chosen and presented as one contrary to cliches - overly masculine, with rough habits and taste (similar to what one may consider as a cliche straight man), in Armenian version it’s a cliche - overly feminine - gay man. Therefore, Russian version is frequently funny and tackles and laughed at existing gay or masculine stereotypes pretty OK, while Armenian one is rarely funny and may contribute to existing prejudices.
There are, however, few funny moments in Armenian version too which expose silliness of macho prejudices in our everyday life. What an average Armenian TV viewer will make out of this, is anyone's guess. So far I've heard very opposite opinions re Yere1: from homophobic to gay friendly, from totally stupid to pretty funny. Perhaps, there is a bit of everything there. My main reservation, however, remains the use of unacceptable Armenian equivalent to describe a gay man: “hamaseramol”.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Russian translation of “Artush and Zaur” - Azeri-Armenian gay love story - available online for free download
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Wikipedia: Swedish-Armenians are Armenians living in Sweden. The number of Armenians is around 8,000 and they come mainly from countries in the Middle East. Recently Sweden is seeing some influx from the Republic of Armenia as well. Most Swedish Armenians live in Stockholm, with a significant number in Uppsala.Not only gay Armenians in Sweden can marry (gay marriage has been legal in Sweden from 1 May 2009), but those preferring church ceremonies can now be formally blessed in a church wedding as approved by the Church of Sweden.
Armenian online news outlets such as Tert.am and Capital business daily carry the news.
Sweden’s Lutheran Church Allows Gay Marriage
Sweden, already a pioneer in giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children, becomes one of the first countries in the world to allow gays to marry in a major Church, report AFP and Reuters news agencies.
Sweden's Lutheran Church decided Thursday to allow gay marriages in its places of worship, five months after they became legal.
The Church of Sweden, which was the state church until 2000, had backed the parliament's adoption of the gay marriage law, which took effect on May 1. But it deferred its synod's decision on church weddings until now.
The church said in a statement it would begin wedding same-sex couples on Nov. 1.
A church official said individual priests would still not be required to perform gay marriages. However, local churches would have to ensure that they could wed same-sex couples, if necessary bringing in an outside priest to perform the ceremony.
The country's smaller Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches said they were disappointed by the Lutherans' decision.
"It is with sadness that we learn about the decision by the synod of the Church of Sweden," Fredrik Emanuelson, a leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and Orthodox church senior official Misha Jaksic said in a joint statement.
"In our churches and communities, we will not unite homosexual couples since it is in complete contradiction with the tradition of the church and our vision of creation," they said.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
‘What Is to Take Place’: a Contemporary Art Affair by Female Artists 'Took Place'
"What is to take place" was a contemporary art affair organized by the Women-Oriented Women's Collective which took place on Sunday, October 18 at Zarubyan 34 in Yerevan.
The event included members of the collective as well as invited artists and featured video and performance works, as well as photo series, a collection of drawings, book art, and stencil art. The event took place in the outside garden where a number of tables and chairs had been arranged in small groupings. One could imagine that instead of a contemporary art event, they were meeting friends at a local cafe. The sun was shining (the weather unusually warm for an early October evening), and the atmosphere was relaxed.
After attendees had an opportunity to view the work, the performance began. Lara Aharonian, Lusine Chergeshtyan, Adrineh Der-Boghossian, Lusine Talalyan and Arpi Adamyan read a piece of work that was comprised of various conversations they have had on various themes (the full text, in Armenian, can be viewed on the Queering Yerevan blog). Interspersed with the text were lines from Lara Aharonian's poem Hoqnel em ("I am tired") and excerpts from Zarubyani Kanayk ("The Women of Zarubyan"), a piece by WOW collective member Shushan Avagyan, who was not in attendance. (Upon Shushan's request, her work was read by Gago).
Queering Yerevan is a collaborative project of Armenian queer artists, writers and curators to be realized within the framework of the WOW (Women-Oriented Women) collective. For more information, visit their blog at http://queeringyerevan.blogspot. com.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Aysor.am publishes an interview with Mamikon Hovsepyan of PINK Armenia, as well as provides an info on the exhibit itself and its three winners.
I am an immigrant from Yerevan living in Brooklyn for the past 13 years. This is a blog about seemingly contradictory identities that I will weave into something new. Perhaps I can make another world possible for someone who may feel like their struggle corresponds with mine.In her first two entries, she touches upon complex and sensitive issues of identity, of being Armenian and gay woman, and relevant issues.
All I know is that if there is room to practice being Armenian by being homophobic and sexist and racist, then there must be room to practice being Armenian and being queer, being feminist, being pro-Palestine, being conscious of the different oppressions that afflict our common world all at the same time. At the end of the day, when I trace back my roots to where I come from and I end up in the lands of the Caucasus mountains, in Van, in Tbilisi, in Yerevan, I know that I can never ‘lose’ this history/memory. Who I am and where I come from has made me. Queer.Welcome to blogosphere, Maral!
Source: IANYAN (one of my favourite Armenian blogs)
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
And what an influence the action by Women’s Resource Centre and activists is having. Pay attention to the ending of this clip - ‘burial of Red Apple’. And now read the story of 8 March 2009 in Yerevan: International Women’s Day in Armenia: small. It may have been small, but its impact and influence are evident. (more about this tradition and meaning of the ‘funeral’ – here)
Monday, 12 October 2009
Saturday, 10 October 2009
*for some background to this story - see here
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Newsweek: Germany is getting a new foreign minister. Cabinet officials come and go in Europe's democracies, but this is different: Guido Westerwelle, the leader of the German Free Democratic Party, will become the first openly gay foreign minister in the world. The prevalence of openly gay politicians in Europe is hardly big news: Iceland's prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is the world's first openly gay head of state; the mayors of Paris and Berlin are also out of the closet. And yes, it's a milestone that this could occur in Germany, a nation that only 70 years ago attempted to exterminate homosexuals. But the truly significant thing about Westerwelle's new job is not what it means for Europe's economic powerhouse—already a country very tolerant of gays—but what it means for the rest of the world.
Westerwelle is about to become the face that Germany presents overseas—which might be a problem for the nations where the denial of homosexuality and the imprisonment, torture, and murder of gay people are official state policies. That's why, after he takes the helm of the Foreign Ministry, Westerwelle ought to kick off his tenure with a tour of the world's most homophobic nations, speaking about the horrific ways in which these regimes treat their gay citizens. Unfortunately, he might be on the road for a while. [...]
While it's unfortunately true that many homophobic regimes channel popular homophobic opinion in their countries, it's also true that individuals are more likely to support equal rights for homosexuals if they interact with them. For the vast majority of the people in nations Westerwelle visits, he will be just a distant figure, someone whose face they will see on the front page of newspapers and on television. But his being in the room during high-level talks with the likes of Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin may alter their attitudes about homosexuality, if only a little.
Even if Westerwelle were not to make an issue of his own homosexuality, recognition of it would be inevitable—especially in countries where homosexuality is viewed as a foreign, specifically "Western" export. The prospect of an openly gay person in a prominent public position is unfathomable in many societies, and the interest in Westerwelle would be almost voyeuristic. That he leads a perfectly normal domestic life alongside a long-term partner—with whom he could travel, forcing foreign governments to provide diplomatic protection and ceremonial recognition to a same-sex couple or lose out on state visits—would dispel many of the bigoted notions that so many people hold about homosexuality. [...] (Thanks to Hrag for the link.)
Thursday, 1 October 2009
"Human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, disability or any other factor."
Now if only these statements implemented for real...
Swedish Presidency - EU statement at the UN Human Rights Council on the follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Hans Dahlgren, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations Office in Geneva on behalf of the European Union.
Check against delivery
The Swedish Presidency of the European Union, 30 September 2009
Human Rights Council – 12th session
30 September 2009
Item 8 - General Debate:
Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
I speak for the European Union
While Turkey, Croatia*,the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* , Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action confirmed the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The European Union supports the continuing efforts of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms to implement those documents.
The European Union commends the quality of the work carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and fully supports the High Commissioner in her continued efforts to pursue her task efficiently and with integrity.
The Vienna documents highlighted the fundamental role played by civil society in ensuring the respect and promotion of human rights. The past years have seen the worldwide emergence of NGO's working with the implementation of international human rights treaties.
The Declaration in Vienna also reaffirmed the obligation of states to create favourable conditions to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights. States must make every effort to eliminate all violations of human rights and their causes. In this context, Mr President, the European Union notes with great concern the increasingly violent political climate in Guinea. It urges the current leadership to respect human rights and to allow a return to democracy and constitutional order in the Republic of Guinea.
In practice, many people continue to be denied enjoyment of their rights and fundamental freedoms. Human rights defenders frequently pursue their struggle while risking their own lives and the lives and well-being of their families. The EU condemns any acts of intimidation against human rights defenders and reiterates the responsibility of governments and individual political leaders to refrain from statements that might endanger their safety.
The international community is facing a severe challenge in handling the climate crisis, while at the same time coping with one of the most serious economic crises in decades. It is crucial that the difficulties these challenges present for us all are not used as a pretext to lessen our commitment to fulfilling our human rights obligations.
Persistent discrimination and other large-scale human rights violations facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons are a source of strong concern, of which the situations in Iraq and Uganda are troubling examples. However, there are also positive examples such as the ruling in July by the Delhi High Court in India that consensual sex between adults of the same sex is not against the law. Human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, religion, disability or any other factor.
The Vienna documents draws our attention to the importance of women's rights, and does also explicitly recognise gender-based violence, sexual harassment and exploitation of women. Trafficking of women and girls is among the worst forms of violation of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the EU attaches importance to the elimination of this exploitation.
Thank you, Mr President.