Saturday, 28 August 2010

eurOut: A look at LGBT rights in Armenia

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.
eurOut magazine (I recommend it!) - European LesBian News in Entertainment and Politics - posted an extended reflection on LGBT rights in Armenia.

In past, they have already reflected some of the highlights I posted on my blog.

Re: homophobic music video by Armenian band VO.X

I don't get to write about Armenia much and I think it's a shame that when I do, it's in a negative way. In Armenian band VO.X's latest music video they list all the things that are wrong with the country, including perversion, with which they mean homosexuality (the segment appears around the 0:50 mark). To make matters worse, the band has gone out of their way this week to defend their stance, as if there's ever an excuse to be homophobic.

Re: British Council Armenia sponsoring homophobic radio station

Armenia / UK
The British Council - Armenia were contacted already earlier this year on the topic of sponsoring the openly homophobic radio station Radio Van. Back then, it seemed as if their tagline the Council is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity was important to them as they had the station remove lots of homophobic references from their webpage. Broadcasting was not monitored though and presenters and the head of the station were free to continue their discriminatory rants. And the British Council – Armenia only recently proudly announced a new cooperation with said radio station (via Unzipped: Gay Armenia).

Thanks to eurOut for keeping their readers informed about Armenia related events and linking to Unzipped: Gay Armenia and other LGBT related Armenian blogs.

Below are few extracts from their latest A look at LGBT rights in Armenia

[...] Apparently, it also has a homophobic radio station that is sponsored by the British Council Armenia. The blogger I linked to not only has a neat blog, but also has a list of Armenian LGBT blogs, links to information on LGBT rights in the South Caucasus region and a knowledge of current Armenian events you probably only have when you speak the language.

I recommend clicking that link, because I could of course repeat exactly what he says, but all I know is the British Council is an educational and cultural NGO which is responsible for things like English classes abroad and IELTS language tests. And although I don’t think any cultural and educational NGO should have links with any homophobic corporation, be it a radio station or a commercial brand or whatever, I believe there have been some issues with this particular radio station in the past which makes it especially strange that the British Council is still agreeing to sponsor its activities. [...]

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing so positively about Armenia, but Adrineh’s blog has given me some more positivity than I usually have. To me it says a lot that a person born and raised in Canada, which is a country that after all does have same-sex marriage and adoption rights and a lot of other solid protections under the law, would move to Armenia for love. Usually you see these things the other way round, which would in my opinion have been the easier option for the two of them. However, I also think that when more people like Adrineh, be it repatriates or expatriates, go to Armenia and stay there for a while, they will undoubtedly bring some changes and ideas with them. How Armenia is going to sort that out, is something we will have to wait and see.

No comments: