Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Armenian church against gay marriage... in Argentina

Apparently, Armenian church representative in Argentina has nothing more to do than to actively protest the possible final approval of same-sex marriage bill by country’s Senate. Spanish-language online outlets report that the Archbishop of the Armenian church in Argentina Kissag Mouradian joined the anti-gay marriage voices by some other religious leaders at parliamentary committee hearings on same-sex marriage bill.

Earlier this year Argentine congress voted to legalise gay marriage. The bill then moved to the Senate where its “prospects are unclear”.

Kissag Mouradian called marriage between two men or two women “unthinkable”, “flatly rejected the idea of same-sex marriage”. (translations from Spanish by Google Translate)

The relatively ‘good news’ - if I may say so - is that reportedly he was not the harshest critique of the bill.

The only religious leader who supported the bill was Rabbi Daniel Goldman who argued that Judaism “is a search for the family, so family models, over time, may be modifying”. (Google Translate)

Here are few links to Spanish language sources carrying the news: 1, 2, 3, 4.

*picture - via The Armenian Church

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Hillary Clinton: "human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all"

This is truly a Quote of the Day. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a terrific speech today marking LGBT Month.

"Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, well, let me say today that human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights, once and for all."

She reiterated US administration's support for advancing gay rights worldwide and in the US. You may read full transcript of her speech here.

Friday, 18 June 2010

UN expert calls for better protection of human rights defenders, including LGBT, in Armenia

UN News Centre: 18 June 2010 – Armenian authorities must take steps to protect human rights defenders, who are often physically attacked, harassed or stigmatized as they try to carry out their work in the Caucasus nation, an independent United Nations expert said today. [...]

Human rights defenders and civil society groups should be consulted and included in decision-making processes, Ms. Sekaggya said, adding the specific needs of women defenders and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender defenders must also be addressed. [...]
***
For more details - see Unzipped

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Vayach & Tsomak: “I want us to be WE...”

Rusty Pumpkin is an annual alternative media festival in Yerevan. It takes place at Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex and aimed at encouraging conceptual art, ‘raw art’, mainly via means of photography and video produced using non-professional equipment, including mobile phones.

(More about the festival - Hetq Online and Armenian Version)

This music video by Vayach and Tsomak “I want us to be WE...” was among five winners of the Rusty Pumpkin ‘Oscars’ this year (see picture below).

I really loved it. Pretty cool.

Lyrics and performance - by writer/artist Lusine Vayachyan, also known as Vayach. You may read her blog at http://vayach.wordpress.com/. For lyrics in English - see here.

Music and voice - by Tsomak, better known as lead vocalist and guitarist of Pincet / Incest, all-female electropunk rock bands based in Armenia.

Video montage - by contemporary artist Sona Abgaryan.



And now, thanks to Lusine Vayachyan, exclusive insight story behind the lyrics and this clip (AM):

Սա մի տխուր պատմություն է հենց վայաչի մասին...Սյն մասին, որ նա երկար ժամանակ սիրում է ocean-ին, նրանք ապրում են միասին եւ ocean-ը սիրահարվում է պարբերաբար ուրիշ աղջիկների... Նա այնքան է սիրում, որ օրերից մի օր, նրանից նեղացած նստած է լինում, եւ հանկարծ տեսնում է, թե աղջիկը ոնց է բացված քնել, նայում է նրան, լցվում քնքշանքով, ծածկում ու տաս րոպեում գրում այդ բանաստեղծությունը: Հետո Ծոմակը երեւի էլի ինչ-որ մի նման քնքշալի վիճակում գրում է երգը: վայաչը կապիկություններ է անում ու ինքն իրեն նկարում, Սոնան էլ մոնտաժ է անում: Երջանիկ մարդիկ, ցավոք, չեն արարում, նրանք վայելում են կյանքը: Արվեստը զոհեր է պահանջում նաեւ երջանկությունից....


*'Ժանգոտ դդումի օսկարը'


*Tsomak (left) and Vayach (right)

(pictures via Facebook)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Armenian music band VO.X on PR defensive to 'justify' homophobia

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.
***
Facing perhaps much stronger than they would have expected criticism - from broader sections of society, not just LGBT - for their homophobic music video premiered on Armenian TV channels and online last week, VO.X turned into PR defensive (facebook, youtube, interviews with yerevan.ru and bravo.am...).

They removed originally uploaded music video with critical comments (now set as ‘private’), re-uploaded it by disabling the possibility to add comments and amended the video description which now reads:
“This new music video raises some of the undisclosed social issues prevalent in modern-day Armenia. It's about Armenia and concerns Armenia ONLY, not the rest of the world. All the views and ideas expressed through this video are purely and subjectively Orthodox Christian and as such, within Armenia's context, do not violate human rights.”
...and via Bravo.am: “Ես youtube տեսահոլովակ եմ գցում ու հատուկ նշում, որ սա վերաբերում է միայն Հայաստանին:”
Needless to say that these statements cannot stand up to criticism. You cannot have one set of human rights for Armenia, for an internal consumption, and another - for the rest of the world. Even suggesting such a possibility is patronising and demeaning for Armenia. Human rights are universal. And that’s a full stop.

In an interview with Bravo.am, VO.X singer and manager Aram Rian says if something happens to sexual minorities he will be the first to stand up in their defense.
“Հիմա էլ, եթե վաղը բռնության ակտ գրանցվի փոքրամասնությունների դեմ, ես առաջինը կվազեմ , որ իրենց պաշտպանեմ…”
Thank you very much. You incite hatred, wait till something happens and then become a 'hero' defending those who you hurt in the first instance. I do not think so.

Being a homophobe doesn't require courage in Armenia. Fighting for equality and against homophobia does.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Armenian LGBT group in New York at NYC gay pride march


Ahead of this year's NYC gay pride march (Sunday, 27 June 2010), Armenian Gay & Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) posted this great picture of their participation in 2009 march.

"Join AGLA NY as we March in the 2010 NYC Pride March!

Last year AGLA NY had a great group of marchers and this year we hope to make it even better!"

For details, see Facebook event page.

Happy Pride Day, guys!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Lesbian Armenian Shabby Katchadourian in Britain's Big Brother !!

UPDATE 21 June 2010: As per comments section below, there are doubts that Katchadourian is not Shabby's real surname, so she may not be Armenian. IMDB says she has four alternate names: "Keeley Flanders | Keeley Katchadourian | Shabby Eliot Katchadourian | Shabby Katchadourian" Why would anyone without Armenian roots 'choose' Armenian surname is beyond me. Will update this post further, if get more clarifications.
***
I haven’t been following Big Brother for the last few years. Got bored of the concept, and it stopped giving me an entertainment value. The only reason I decided to watch its 2010 launch programme was because it's been announced to be the last ever Big Brother on British TV. So I thought I'd have a glance at housemates. Needless to say, I did not expect seeing any Armenian housemate there. And imagine the expression of my face when they announced that a Londoner Shabby Katchadourian was selected to be one of this year's housemates. Not only she has Armenian roots (surname), but she is also a lesbian Armenian. I put a triple WOW when tweeted about the news.

Btw, she got booed by the crowd when entering the house. No, it's not because of her ethnic roots (I do not think anyone out there was aware of her being Armenian) or sexual orientation. I assume it might have something to do with her background and the very straightforward behaviour. Also, may be people did follow her during the pre-selection period, and she did something weird or whatever. Anyway, she seems pretty cool. Will definitely keep an eye on developments.

Here is how a friend of mine described her: “A rich girl gone hippie - the English eccentric with an added twist - hye!!! :)”
***
via Channel 4



Age: 24
Home: London
Job: Filmmaker
Starsign: Taurus
Status: In a relationship

Former child actor turned rebel girl Shabby (real name Keeley) describes herself as 'a walking contradiction with a love of poetry and giant boobs'. A squatter, Shabby lives in a squat in a Victorian house in south London.

Keen to transform people's opinions of squatters, Shabby believes she is a citizen of the world. She can not spend more than six months in one place so has to move on. Despite wanting to portray squatters in a new light (she has a shoot planned with Italian Vogue) she admits she eats food discarded by supermarkets.

Her film career as a child star saw her appear in Black Beauty and lose out to Lindsay Lohan for the lead role in The Parent Trap. She's now returned to filmmaking from the other side of the camera and thinks 'films shouldn't be escapist; they should hold a mirror up to the world and show it what it's really like'.

A country girl in her childhood, she moved to London aged 17. She always knew she was gay and at school all the girls who wanted to experiment with their sexuality used to kiss her to test the waters. Her mum found out she was a lesbian when she was caught Shabby with her first girlfriend.

She dislikes public transport, authority figures and strawberries - her fear of mould means she refuses to eat fruit at all. She hates being told no and has an inner spoilt brat waiting to get out. Oppression and Keira Knightley make her angry and she was once regressed and learnt she was an elf in a former life.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Homophobic music video by Armenian band VO.X disguised under "progressive ideas"

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.
***
When I first read about this new music video by partly British based Armenian band VO.X and then saw it on Facebook, I was intrigued to check it out, as the premise of the video - the way it was described - sounded interesting: ‘important social messages communicated via Britpop style Armenian music band’. However, when I watched it, my main conclusion was that this is homophobic music video disguised under ‘progressive ideas’. Here is an example of that "progressive idea": homosexuality is a "perversion" by crossing over pictures with gay and lesbian persons. This reduced the value of all other messages, however important they may sound, like human trafficking or poverty, to zero.

Shame, really.

Personal or religious beliefs cannot be considered as an excuse for spreading hate and homophobia. And no, this has nothing to do whatsoever with the concept of freedom of speech. Do not even get me started with the lamest 'I can't be a homophobe as I have gay friends' line.

As this group is partly British-based, I do hope that the British embassy in Armenia and British Council will not support any event or performance with VO.X.

If you know or learn about the upcoming gigs or performances of this band in Britain, please do let me know. The least I can do is to send a complaint letter to any venue/host they may have in the UK.

I have also put VO.X into Armenia Homophobia Hall of Shame.

I do not know how consistently and systematically YouTube uses its own community guidelines, but this music video is a clear breach of their rules re hate speech. If you have not yet reported this video, you may do it there. (I did report it yesterday. I am aware that other people reported it too.)

"We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we do not permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status and sexual orientation/gender identity)."
All these actions will remain in place as long as this music video is being circulating the way it is now. I would also be interested to know who sponsored the production of this video.

And finally, about using Yeghishe Charents poetry in this video... To hijack Charents and use his poetry against homosexuality (and few other 'phenomenon', as people from VO.X like to call it) is not only beyond any ethical norms but a hipocrisy at its worst.

P.S. As I was making this post, I noticed that today this originally uploaded music video has changed its settings and is now set as “private”. But it's being premiered over Armenian TV channels yesterday. The video is now re-uploaded and available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j8vf1FEtGM

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Showbiz scandal of the day? Sirusho to Eva Rivas: ‘be more modest'

In an interview with Public TV, commenting on her performance at Eurovision 2010, along with other statements, Eva Rivas said no other Armenian representative at Eurovision got such a reception.

Armenia’s most successful to date Eurovision entry (4th place) - Sirusho, hit back today by advising Eva to be “more modest” and “recognise others’ achievements”.

Interestingly, Tert.am which published Sirusho’s commentary, has since removed the page. Below you may read it in full (in Armenian).
Սիրուշոն Եվա Ռիվասին խորհուրդ է տալիս մի քիչ համեստ լինել

15:54 • 05.06.10

«Վերջերս լսեցի մի հարցազրույց նրա մասնակցությամբ։ Նա մի նախադասություն ասաց, թե մինչ այդ Հայաստանի ներկայացուցչի կատարումը և ելույթը չեն արժանացել նման ընդունելության։ Կարծում եմ, որ մեր բոլոր մասնակիցները շատ լավ են ներկայացրել Հայաստանը։ Պետք է, երևի, մի քիչ ավելի համեստ գտնվել և նկատել մյուսների հաջողությունները», – ասաց Սիրուշոն՝ Tert.am-ի խնդրանքով մեկնաբանելով Եվա Ռիվասի մասնակցությունը «Եվրատեսիլում»։

Խոսելով մրցույթի մասին՝ Սիրուշոն նշեց, որ այն լավ մրցույթ է և պետք է դրական վերաբերվել դրան։
«Ինձ մոտ տրամադրությունն այդպիսին է եղել։ Երբեք այդ մրցակցության զգացողությունը չի եղել։ Դա է, երևի, արդյունքը, որ հորիզոնականս բարձր է եղել։ Կարևոր է հանգստությունը, բարի վերաբերմունքը բոլորի հանդեպ», – եզրափակեց նա։

Հիշեցնենք, որ 2008թ. Սիրուշոն ներկայացրեց Հայաստանը «Եվրատեսիլում» և զբաղեցրեց 4–րդ հորիզոնականը։.
I have to agree that during that interview Eva sounded too self-confident and lacking self-criticism towards her own performance and show. Of course, one may argue that Sirusho didn’t face a jury vote, and we will never know what her and any other for that matter participant’s final place would be had they faced the same 50% televotes / 50% jury votes. I have to confess, however, that so far Sirusho’s Qele-qele remains my favourite Armenian entry at Eurovision.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Safura to perform at Stockholm gay pride festival

According to local media, Azerbaijan representative at Eurovision 2010 Safura is "set for departure to Sweden, where she will be living for 5 upcoming years. As Safura told the journalists, she will remain in Sweden, where she is expected to record a new music album with a live orchestra. Safura also said, that a European tour is also in the plans."

Oikotimes reports that Safura will be performing at Sweden's gay pride event:

"Today it was announced that Safura from Azerbaijan will perform during the “Schlager evening” at Stockholm Gay Pride Festival. In the press release Safura says that she loves Stockholm. It is her favorite city and she is honored to perform at the Stockholm Pride.

The company behind Safura, Zaphire Group, is partly owned by Anders Bagge who is the Swedish composer of “Drip Drop”. The company has been asked to compose the official song for Stockholm Pride 2010.

“Schlager evening” is one of the most popular events during the festival and will take place on the 29th July in the Pride Park. It is an evening filled with Eurovision and Melodifestivalen artists. Most of the artists are kept as a secret but today three of this year’s MF artists were confirmed: NEO, Jenny Silver and Hanna Lindblad."

*picture - via Eurovision.tv

Friday, 4 June 2010

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

New hymn was born - video premiere of All The Lovers by Kylie Minogue

This is so good and so sexy... Pop music at its best.

Kylie Minogue proves she is on top. Watch the video. She literally is... on top too.

All the lovers... This is for you ;)