Tuesday, 31 August 2010

“Unlike most of the society, policemen in Yerevan are not homophobic”

Interesting story (AM) by the Armenian Version (journalist Lusine Vayachyan) about 19 yrs old transsexual Armenian Erik from Yerevan.

Although they refer to Erik as “transvestite”, from what I understood reading the article and clarifying few details with the author, Erik is in fact transsexual.

What I find of particular note in this story is the case of physical violence Erik and his friends encountered in Yerevan. Not only they reported the case to the police (majority of such cases remain unreported), but according to Erik, police was working “within the law” and “overall, unlike most of the society, policemen in Yerevan are not homophobic”.
- Իսկ քաղաքում լինո՞ւմ են դեպքեր, երբ «քյարթուները» նեղեն քեզ ու քո ընկերներին:
- «Քյարթուները», երբ նրանք խմբովի են, ահավոր հոմոֆոբ են, բայց երբ մենակ են ու տեսնող չկա, բոլորն էլ ուզում են մեզ: Հիմա ավելի շատ «գեղցիներն» են նեղում, նրանք մեզնից ընդհանրապես անտեղյակ են, միանգամից շոկի մեջ են ընկնում ու դառնում ագրեսիվ: Սեփական ագրեսիայի պատճառով էլ հետո տուժում են: Վրեջերս, ոչ էնքան վաղուց ես, ընկերս ու երկու աղջիկ քայլում էինք: Ռեպլիկ գցեցին՝ «Արա, չի ջոգվում սրանցից տղեն որն ա, աղջիկը որը»: Ու մինչ մտածում էին, թե մեզնից որն է տղա, որը աղջիկ, մենք զգացինք, որ նրանցից մեկը մեզ շատ մոտեցավ: Անհիմն ագրեսիան ալկոհոլի հետ կոկտեյլում նպաստեց նրան, որ կռիվ եղավ, ընկերոջս շրթունքը ճղեցին: Հիմա նրանք պրոբլեմներ ունեն օրենքի հետ, մենք դիմել ենք ոստիկանությւոն ու գործ է հարուցվել:
- Իսկ օրենքի մարդի՞կ: Նրանք ո՞նց են ձեզ վերաբերվում:
- Իսկ օրենքի մարդիկ առայժմ գործում եմ օրենքի սահմաններում, այլ կերպ հնարավոր էլ չէր: Շատ վկաներ կային: Ու ընդհանրապես, մեր քաղաքի ոստիկանները, ի տարբերություն հասարակությամ մեծ մասի, հոմոֆոբ չեն:
I have to say, lately I’ve heard of similar positive attitude from few other LGBT Armenians who live or visited Yerevan. Although for now I can’t generalise such statements, it’s a positive sign, indeed. I can only hope it will become a norm.

Hevjin - first Kurdish LGBT magazine in Turkey

Eurasia.net reports on first ever groundbreaking LGBT magazine for Kurds in Turkey:

[...] For all their fear, however, the pair embarked on a radical experiment, launching the first-ever magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) Kurds this July. Called ‘Hevjin’, meaning ‘intercommunity’ in Kurdish, the first issue of the free publication is available online and in a few bookshops and cafés in Diyarbakir, a city with a large Kurdish population.

It took three years of patient work before Koya and Solin, both gay Kurds themselves, were ready to bring out the first issue. “There are 15 million Kurds in Turkey, and one in 10 people is gay, but where are the Kurdish gay people?” asked Solin. “That is the question that led to this. We wanted to find out how people express their sexuality in this culture.” [...]

“I don’t want to create a hierarchy in discrimination, but I would say that they [the Kurdish LGBT activists] are doubly discriminated against,” Oztop added. [Nevin Oztop, editor-in-chief of Turkey’s only other LGBT magazine, Kaos GL]

For their part, Koya and Solin affirmed that they feel locked in a twin struggle, one ethnic, the other sexual. Upsetting gay Turks and straight Kurds won’t stop them, they added.

They expressed hope that their periodical, Hevjin, would soon surpass 2,000 readers. Over the longer term, they seek to bring about the kind of change that will allow homosexuals to rally openly in Diyarbakir some day in the not too distant future. “In the past it was very popular for Kurds to say that there were no Kurdish homosexuals. We’ve already got to a point where it’s no longer possible for people to say this.”
***

You may access the magazine at http://www.hevjin.org (picture via Hevjin)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Homophobe and into gay porn? Lucky you. You will be rewarded by British Council Armenia

After this: ‘Champion of equality’ British Council Armenia sponsors homophobic radio station in Yerevan

and this: Re: ‘Open Letter’ by Radio Van

...the ‘creative’ minds behind the radio station decided to unmask “these people” (that's how Radio Van refers to gays) to show how ‘disgusting’ they are by posting links to... X-rated posts from a blog that explicitly indicates upon access that it contains adult material.
И эти люди «запрещают нам ковыряться в носу» ["And these people "prohibit us from picking the nose"]
Obsessions with gay topics I may understand. But with the gay porn??? Oh my... Too absurd, even for Radio Van 'standards'.

But all the above did not stop the British Council Armenia to go ahead with their plans of partnership with the radio station. On Friday night they were out clubbing with the radio station to celebrate their ‘special bond’.

British Council Armenia aligns itself with homophobia

So, here we are. If you are homophobe, and especially if you are obsessed with the gay porn (yes, such combination is possible from a scientific point of view too, read this study), chances are you may be in luck and get a partnership deal by the British Council Armenia. That’s not all fun you may get. You may also celebrate your ‘special relationship’ by going out clubbing. British Council Armenia will make sure that you are fully rewarded.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Today's Zaman: Turkish nationalist discovers his Armenian roots, or dissection of hatred

Thanks to the link posted under the comments section of Study: Homophobia is associated with... homosexual arousal, below are extracts from a relevant piece by Today's Zaman columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz Was Hitler a self-hating Jew?
***

Once I heard a story about a Turkish nationalist who accidentally found out that his ancestors were actually Armenians. [...]

I believe in most extreme forms of hatred and stigmatizing certain groups there is an element of self-hatred. A person who obsessively fights against homosexuals may be fighting against his actual self, his homosexual dark persona. The one who hates the Roma may be fighting against his “colorful,” marginal threads to protect his dull life, governed by the dictatorship of “shoulds.” I have many times observed in Turkey that most hard-line secularists come from devout Muslim families, and with their Islamophobic attitudes they actually express their shame and discontent with their background.

When I first heard the story of this Turkish nationalist Armenian guy, I thought this was a divine message from God to him. All of a sudden he was given an opportunity to reflect on his entire life, his purpose, his attitude and the way he relates with other people. Did he receive the message? I did not believe that he had no clue about his background; he most probably kept pushing every sign showing that he is not Turkish into the dark corners of his subconscious. Apparently, later on, some undeniable evidence showed up and he entered in a kind of shock. Or maybe with this sudden revelation everything became much clearer. Things started to make sense.

Can he continue on with his life as if nothing has happened? After this kind of painful confrontation, nothing can be the same. He would either abandon his Turkish nationalism or become more and more nationalistic.

This guy did not know his background (at least consciously) and became a Turkish nationalist.[...]

This new revelation about Hitler’s genetic code is filled with food for thought about racism, human destructiveness and self-hatred. It provides us with a fresh perspective when looking at people who somehow hate others. And, of course, I hope it will help those who hate and stigmatize some groups; I wish they could see the real meaning of their hatred.

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

Armenia
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.

Annual group exhibit at NPAK to focus on identity and social structure

New opening at NPAK (Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art) - Annual Group Exhibition 2 September - 30 October 2010 curated by Sonia Balassanian.


"MULTI-LAYERED IDENTITY AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE"
Every individual has open and hidden layers of identity. Some are hidden and closed by personal choice, some because of social taboos, and others forced by socio-political pressures.

Closeness and openness of inner layers of identity is a matter of individual choice. There are some who have the courage and audacity of expressing a view, position or posture — on sexual orientation, political position, interpretation of historic events—which is either unacceptable or condemnable by the general public. But none-the-less they have the courage of expressing them.

Most of the artists usually express their personal and private feelings through metaphorical symbols. A situation, which enriches the work creates opportunity for interpretations, meditations and dialogue. There are also artists who are open and bold, which is also an acceptable mode of expression...

You may access this exhibit's brochure here

No Gay Pride, but a parade of religious fanatics in Batumi, Georgia

So all that hysteria about imaginary Gay Pride festival in Batumi (or Tbilisi) was a PR action for religious fanatics and bigots from politics to stage their very own parade in Batumi. Watch the video below. For a moment, you may forget that it’s contemporary going-towards-Europe Georgia, more like a footage from the Middle Ages.



*via Gay Batumi

"Gay or not so much, Today there still was a pride in Batumi – only it had an extremely religious character. A crowd of religious extremists gathered in front of the “Sheraton” Batumi hotel (the image of the western liberty, a scapegoat for all the evil gays guys who didn’t show up) to let the steam out. There were people scared by the big blue Bigfoot and they kept citing “Oh Father” and praying for the gay pride to never happen in Batumi.

Places around the “Sheraton Batumi” were filled with masses blinded by “sightless leaders” and driven by the hysteria; and the were tears of joy -the relief! Sighs of hope that they’ve proudly demonstrated their power and unity and showed us that there is no place for gay men within the cave communities. The sense of democracy, freedom and liberty is still so below the horizon of the black sea."

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Study: Homophobia is associated with... homosexual arousal

What we all knew based on anecdotal evidence - that the most homophobic people could be in fact ‘repressed’ homosexuals - has its scientific proof. With all its limitations, this study from mid-90s published by the American Psychological Association provides conclusions that all homophobes out there will - without doubts - be ‘thrilled’ to know.

Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?

(access to full research paper)

The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980).

The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

“I am at ‘yerjanik’ (երջանիկ) bar”

That's what a guy from Manchester (gay Armenian) said answering a phone call from our mutual friend: “We are at ‘yerjanik’ (երջանիկ) bar”.

I smiled and asked him if he had any happy memories with the place [‘yerjanik’ (երջանիկ) could be translated as “happy”, “joyful” etc]. He smiled back and said that by saying ‘yerjanik (երջանիկ) bar’ he was referring to a ‘gay bar’ as one of literal Armenian translations of the word “gay” :)))

I thought it's cute. It's like a coded - and very positive, uplifting - way for some Armenians to refer to gay venues.

Եղեք երջանիկ :)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Re: ‘Open Letter’ by Radio Van

Background info:

‘Champion of equality’ British Council Armenia sponsors homophobic radio station in Yerevan

Open letter by Radio Van
***

I did not know that criticising Radio Van and exposing its homophobia is equivalent to ‘damaging Armenia’s international reputation’. Familiar language they use, and that says it all.

Unzipped: Gay Armenia will always challenge homophobic organisations or individuals, regardless of their political or whatever affiliation, or those who support them. I will always reflect whatever I find positive and praise-worthy in Armenia. I will always expose, challenge and criticise human rights violations or societal injustices in Armenia. The way I see and feel it. This is my way of loving Armenia, and I do not need your or anyone else’s ‘lectures on patriotism’.

Head of radio station cites her views on gay adoption and marriage as reasons for the outrage against the radio station. No, Ms. Arevshatyan, your anti- gay adoption or marriage views were so mild compared to everything else you’ve said that I never paid attention or mentioned them on my blog.

“Sterilization and isolation” (“Стерилизовать и в резервацию!”) - this reflects your real views about LGBT people.

I do believe that people can change. I believe in power of education. However, engagement is a right option with those whose intentions are genuine.

‘Open Letter’ by Radio Van, with its somewhat aggressive tone and ending, proves that the radio station did not change and did not recognise its mistakes (to put it mildly), and all these mentions of “engagement” or “dialogue” are disingenuous. You must come clean first and open up new page for the Radio Van, page free of hatred.

Until then, any support or sponsorship for the radio station by organisations such as British Council, BMI etc I will consider against fundamental human rights and for promoting homophobia in Armenia.

September cover of WOW magazine (Armenia)

Hot!


*upcoming September issue of WOW magazine in Armenia - "Positive issue".
**source of picture: WOW magazine blog

Thursday, 19 August 2010

‘Champion of equality’ British Council Armenia sponsors homophobic radio station in Yerevan

British Council Armenia
We're throwing a party to launch The Selector, a radio programme featuring the latest music from the UK! Radio Van will be broadcasting the show throughout the year and you have the chance to win great prizes by tuning in to Radio Van and coming to our party at Lake Sevan. See you there! 
...and on the event's page: 
The British Council Armenia and Radio Van are happy to announce the launch of The Selector radio programme in Armenia. We are having a big party to mark this occasion and you are invited! [...]
Besides dancing and fun, you’ve also got the chance to win great prizes in a lottery! A return ticket to London for one person and an unforgettable and all-inclusive weekend for two at Arthurs Resort in Aghveran are up for grabs. A big thanks to BMI and Arthurs Resort for providing the prizes!
Besides the great music that The Selector offers, there is another great reason to tune in to Radio Van’s broadcast of the show throughout the year. You can win another return ticket to London to attend The Selector annual party, a prize once again provided by BMI.
***

Reading these announcements on Facebook, I could not believe my eyes. I was outraged and utterly disappointed with the decision by British Council Armenia to sponsor and support homophobic radio station in Yerevan.

Earlier this year, this blog exposed institutional homophobia and hatred within the Radio Van, with the head of radio station ‘fully agreeing’ with neo-nazi views expressed on their corporate blog. This ‘inspired’ me for launching Armenia: Homophobia Hall of Shame. Back then, I did express my firm belief that promoting hate should not be profitable in Armenia. Apparently, British Council in Armenia does not share such views.

I also pointed out at sponsorship by British Embassy in Armenia for a project within the radio station aimed at... promoting European integration (!!).

British Ambassador in Armenia was quick to intervene and reassured that the embassy was unaware of the homophobic material, the Euro project was agreed long before and now completed, and they “do not have any other current projects with Radio Van”. Thanks to that intervention, main homophobic materials were removed from the Radio Van’s corporate blog. However, that removal was simply a technical act. Head of radio station Shushanik made it clear on several occasions that her views did not change, that she was forced to remove materials, and the radio station never publicly acknowledged or distanced from their homophobic past, which never really became ‘past’ but continued to be ‘present’.

‘Marking’ International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), 17 May 2010, head of Radio Van Shushanik effectively and literally compared gays to... ‘sh*t’, cleverly using a seemingly not gay related citation and effectively equaling fight against homophobia with that against ‘sh*tophobia’. (link)

And here we are, our ‘champion of equality’ British Council Armenia happily sponsoring projects with such radio station and making joint invitations to a fancy beach party with “great prizes”. ...If this is “the freedom of expression and the diversity of views” British Council Armenia “respects”, then no comments, indeed.

In reply to my outrage and disappointment with their sponsorship of homophobic organisation, British Council Armenia came out with a relatively long response which contained quite a few but somehow irrelevant references to “equality” and “diversity” and did not address in any way my concerns re homophobia.

“The British Council values Equality and Diversity and aims to establish cooperation with individuals and organisations representing the diversity of Armenia and the world. We also respect the freedom of expression and the diversity of views, at the same time we always do our best to promote our values of Equality and Diversity among our partners and beneficiaries and to ensure that no discrimination occurs in the framework of our partnership initiatives and all the project stakeholders are treated with respect. In regard to this particular project, we would like to stress that this partnership has its history since 2003 when The Selector was being broadcast by RadioVan. Moreover this is a true non-commercial partnership thanks to which it has been possible to revive  the Selector in Armenia and bring our audiences the best of British music as we believe that Art is one of the most powerful media for establishing intercultural dialogue and promoting positive social change. We do hope that you will enjoy this initiative and that it will help us strengthen the links between Armenia and the UK."

No, I won’t and I cannot enjoy any initiative which promotes or sponsors homophobic groups in Armenia or elsewhere. This is not the way to “strengthen the links between Armenia and the UK”.

All these references to “Equality” and “Diversity” are totally devalued if, on one hand, the British Council sponsors ‘silent’ posters against discrimination, but in practice loudly sponsors homophobic radio station with fancy launch parties. This sponsorship by British Council clearly contradicts declared British Foreign Policy directives in promoting equality, human rights, including LGBT rights, worldwide. Moreover, not only British Council in Armenia is not ashamed of these connections, it proudly announces involvement of at least one other British institution, BMI, in sponsoring of this project with “great prizes”. I assume - or I want to believe - that BMI is not aware of homophobic nature of the organisation they are sponsoring.

Shameful.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

George Michael crashed his car in Hampstead, north London, and created new ‘tourist attraction’

George Michael was in headlines again when he crashed his Range Rover car into a branch of Snappy Snaps photo store in Hampstead in the early hours of Sunday 4 July allegedly under the influence of drugs. He was released on bail and due to appear at court on 24 August.


It’s been more than a month since the incident and apparently owners of Snappy Snaps are in no hurry to repair the damaged spots. The site became a kind of ‘tourist attraction’, and someone even wrote down WHAM (George Michael’s former band) over the site of crash. Amused :)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Coming out TV film/programme from France with Armenian subtitles: "Ներիր ինձ մայրիկ, ես միասեռական եմ"

I accidentally came across this video while browsing the net. I have no idea who did Armenian translation and which reality show, TV programme or film it is, but thought I would post it here. I am encouraged to see that people will take an initiative and transate such topics into Armenian. I want to see more of this. In fact, I want to see similar programmes on Armenian TV...




"Ռոման թաքնված միասեռական է,
նա որոշում է հայտնել իր գաղտնիքը իր հարազատներին"

Déjà vu: 2 years on, same scenario, same hysteria re imaginary "Gay Pride" festival in Tbilisi

Two years ago, there was a political/religious storm in Tbilisi against imaginary Gay Pride festival, which was in reality a Council of Europe sponsored “All Different - All Equal” event. The event was cancelled amid controversy and homophobic outbursts. [read Gay Pride in Tbilisi?]

The same scenario is being enacting now.

Georgian filmmaker Khaindrava announced the ‘news’ via local media on upcoming “gay parade” to be held at the end of August. He claimed that such an event is aimed at destroying “fundamental values of Georgia”.

Gay activists were quick to deny any plans on holding Gay Pride festival and rightly accused political, religious forces in country of using ‘gay card’ in their inter/intra- machinations.

In an interview with Belarus gay portal Gay.by, Paata Sabelashvili, head of Georgia’s LGBT group Inclusive Foundation, commented on news: “It’s not simply a gossip, but rather intentionally fabricated ‘news’ used by nationalist and opposition politicians to politicise the issue and demonise the government”. Of course, as Paata noticed, “The government itself is often resorted to using the media for negative coverage of LGBT issues, to distract public attention from criticism of the more important issues.”

What is telling, those who shout of upcoming “gay parade” in Tbilisi cannot name any source of such information, despite requested to do so by Georgian gay activists.
***
via Gay.by

На этой неделе крупные грузинские издания сообщили о подготовке гей-парада в столице республики.  Некоторые политики начали утверждать, что гей-парад в Тбилиси должен пройти в конце августа, однако, активисты движения отрицают данный факт…

Политическая игра на теме гей-парада в Грузии начинает набирать обороты. Общественный деятель, кинорежиссер Георгий Хаиндрава во вторник выступил с утверждением, что в Грузии в конце августа планируется проведение гей-парада.

"Проведение гей-парада в Тбилиси реально стоит в повестке дня, и будет он или нет, уже зависит от грузинского общества, от тех людей, кого волнует будущее  Грузии", - цитирует Хаиндрава издание Новости-Грузия.

В то же время, Хаиндрава утверждает, что проведение такой акции входит в интересы руководства страны и тех неправительственных организаций, "которые стараются уничтожить главные ценности Грузии". "Правящая сила и правящая партия способствуют такой акции. Ведь без их разрешения и без разрешения мэрии города, подобные мероприятия не проводятся", - утверждает Хаиндрава.

Не смотря на громкие заявления экс-политика, активисты ЛГБТ-движения страны отрицают данный факт.

Как отметил в интервью Gay.by председатель грузинской ЛГБТ организации «Фонд Инклюзив»  Паата Сабелашвили - «Данная информация не является достоверной. К еще большему сожалению это не просто сплетни, а специально выдуманная «новость», которая распространяется националистически и оппозиционно настроенными политиками с целью политизации вопроса и демонизации правительства. На самом деле правительство никак не поддерживает ЛГБТ и не предпринимает никаких шагов, не смотря на рекомендации Совета Европы, и выбирает позицию игнорирования вопроса».

«Мы неоднократно обращались к этим политикам с просьбой назвать источник данной информации, однако ответа так и не получили» - сообщил активист. - «Не смотря на это, все упорно утверждают, что парад все-таки состоится».

«Само правительство нередко прибегает к использованию медиа средств для негативного освещения ЛГБТ вопросов, чтобы отвлечь общественное внимание от критики по более важным вопросам. Оппозиция же пытается поднять тему в преддверии выборов или в случаях, когда она «отдыхает» и ничем не может привлечь внимание СМИ».

«Мы выражаем надежду, что грузинское общество не даст себя обмануть и на этот раз. Со своей стороны обещаем общественность, в первую очередь, будет проинформирована, когда будет конкретный план проведения такого мероприятия» - отметил Паата Сабелашвили.

Тем не менее, Гога Хаиндарава  настаивает, что «26 августа, когда мужчины выйдут в нательном белье, и Саакашвили примет гей-парад, вы поймете, в чьих вы руках! В этом гей-параде примут участие многие политические фигуры. Они выйдут на улицы, и вы увидите всех».

Friday, 13 August 2010

A story of Lilit: Armenian dominatrix engaged in commercial S&M “to pay for lesbian lover’s treatment”, but not only

She is 26 years old and describes herself as feminist. She provides sex services that do not involve penetrative sex, but rather S&M with domination. She says she does it to pay for treatment of hepatitis C of her lesbian lover. But, as far as I could understand from her answers, at least partly, she enjoys that experience too.

Exctracts below (and picture above), via the Armenian Version (AM).
***
Լիլիթն աշխատում է ԿՏՍՄ ծառայություններ մատուցող, բացառապես որպես դոմինանտ` Տիրուհի, տղամարդ-կին հարաբերություններում տիրուհի-ստրուկ դերաբաշխմամբ, հանդես է գալիս սադիստի դերում: Մնացածը` զրույցի մեջ ինքը կպատմի:
***
BDSM - Bondage (կապկպել, սահմանափակել շարժումները) Domination (գերիշխանություն, տիրապետություն) Sadism (սադիզմ) Masochism (մազոխիզմ), հայերեն այն չի հապավվել դեռևս, փորձեմ անել` ԿՏՍՄ, լավ էլ հնչում է, եթե ինտեգրվել է և կիրառվում է, ապա հապավումը պետք է:
***
Լիլիթ, 26 տարեկան, արվեստաբանության բակալավր, սիրում եմ կինոարվեստը, փորձում եմ ինքս կինո անել, նաև գրում եմ: Ֆեմինիստ եմ, պայքարում եմ արդարության համար և բողոքում այն ամենի դեմ, ինչ էս աշխարհում անում են մարդու հետ իր կամքին հակառակ, լինի դա ֆիզիկական, հոգևոր, թե սոցիալական բռնության տեսքով:
***
- Շատ կիրթ ու զարգացած աղջիկ ես երևում, մի՞թե էս քաղաքում քեզ համար մի այլ հարմար աշխատանք չգտնվեց, որ սկսեցիր զբաղվել դրանով:

- Ես հիմա էլ ունեմ աշխատանք, բայց իմ աշխատավարձը շատ քիչ է, իսկ ես ունեմ պրոբլեմներ, որոնք անհապաղ ֆինանսական լուծում են պահանջում: Ինձ շատ մոտ մի մարդ հեպատիտ C ունի, և եթե մոտակա կես տարվա մեջ չունենա 2 700 000 դրամ դեղորայք առնելու համար, լյարդի ցեռոզ կստանա: Դա դեռ առանց բժշկի վարձատրության ու ամենամսյա անալիզների գումարի, որը երևի մի 300 000 դրամ կկազմի: Մի խոսքով դոլարի վերածած` մոտ 8300 $ է պետք:

- Գիտեմ, արդեն 13 տարի է ես էլ ունեմ նույն պրոբլեմը, բայց դա ինձ չի ստիպում անել մի բան, որը դեմ է իմ սկզբունքներին: Իսկ ամեն բան, ինչ կապված է մարմինն ապրանք դարձնելու հետ, ինձ բարդ է ընդունել: Իսկ դու դա անում ես նույնիսկ ոչ թե քեզ համար, այլ քո մտերիմի: Ինչքա՞ն մոտ մարդ է նա քեզ:

- Իմ սիրած մարդն է, առանց նրա ես հրաժարվում եմ ապրել: Նա ոչինչ չգիտի, հետո կասեմ, որ հովանավոր եմ գտել, թող բուժվի, որ ապրենք:
***
-[...] Գուցե, դու ինքդ ֆեմինիստ ու լեսբուհի լինելով ատո՞ւմ ես տղամարդկանց, ու էստեղ քո զգացմունքներին հագուրդ ես տալիս:

- Չէ, ես նրանց համ սիրում եմ, համ էլ ատում: Ռադիկալ ֆեմինիստ չեմ, և ոչ էլ տղամարդատյաց: Իսկ սիրում եմ, որովհետև ավելի ազատ են, ուժեղ և լավ հումորի զգացում ունեն, քան կանայք: Ատում եմ….որեվհետև նրանք մեզնից` կանանցից շատ ավելի ազատ են, և պահանջում են կանացից շատ բաներ, օրինակ` առանց պահպանակի սեքս, որից կինն անցանկալի հղիանում է, ու դա միայն նրա պրոբլեմն է դառնում, ծեծում են կանանց, վիրավորում… Մի խոսքով` տղամարդ են…

- Հիմա որ հավաքես ընկերուհուդ բուժման փողը, կդադարե՞ս սրանով զբաղվել:

- Չգիտեմ, ես կապվել եմ իմ կլիենտներին, ես արդեն ասեցի, որ նրանց բժիշկն եմ: Բայց ուզեմ- չուզեմ, պիտի վերջացնեմ: Ընկերուհիս եթե իմանա, լավ չի լինի, այ նա ատում է տղամարդկանց:

- Իսկ չե՞ս կարծում, որ եթե նա իմանար, որ դու էսպես փող ես աշխատում նրա բուժման համար, կգերադասեր մահը:

- Մտածում եմ հաճախ դրա մասին, ես նրան ամեն ինչ կպատմեմ, երբ բուժումն ավարտի, թող ինքը որոշի` կուզի ինձ հետ լինել, թե չէ: Չեմ կարա թաքցնեմ սաղ կյանքս: Ես քեզ հետո ամենը մանրամասն կպատմեմ, գուցե գիրք գրես սրա մասին:
***
This description about her clients is particularly amusing:

Չէ, հաստատ դաուններ կամ քյարթուներ չկան, քյարթուները գնում են «պլեշկա» տրանսերի մոտ, կամ Բաղրամյանի կամ ցիրկի մոտի պոռնիկների: Իմ կլիենտները ինտելլեկտուալներ են:
***
In a follow-up piece, the Armenian Version started posting Lilit’s letter/diaries.

The place
Ես աշխատում եմ բերդանման մի տեղ, ուր բոլոր պայմանները կան մարդ տանջելու համար: Կլիենտը պիտի գար էնտեղ:

Տանտիրուհին տարիքով կին ա, 15 տարի առաջ սարքել ա էդ տունը, ու էդ օրվանից օգտագործում ա որպես Ֆորդ-բոյարդի պես մի բան՝ էկզոտիկայի սիրահարների համար, մենք ասում ենք «տանջատուն»:
***
'Watering sports’
Մի քանի օր առաջ շատ հարուստ մի կլիենտ ունեինք: Բոլորը նրան լավ ճանաչում են, նա ամեն երկու շաբաթը մեկ գալիս ա: Գալիս ա, ու պահանջում, որ բոլոր աղջիկները միզեն իրա դեմքին: Ամեն միզելու համար 25 դոլար ա տալիս: Մեզ մոտ էդ հարուստը մնում ա 2-4 ժամ: Ինքն իրան կապում ա աթոռից, շղթայում ձեռքերը, ու սպասում, որ հերթական աղջիկները իրան սյուրպրիզ անեն, ու ստորացնեն իրան:
***

For articles in full, follow the links above. And here is the latest instalment.

Recommended reading: Personal account on being gay woman and in love in Yerevan, Armenia

Over the last couple of months, there have been few interesting postings here and there which provide with the different perspectives of what it is “being gay in Yerevan”.

This is my favourite. A friend of mine, Adrineh, provided with a very personal account on “a queer woman’s take on living in the Caucasus (or at least Yerevan)”.
I live with my partner. In Yerevan. That might sound exceptional to some, but that’s just the way it is. We sometimes hold hands in public (especially if we’re rushing across the street in oncoming traffic). If we get any odd stares, it’s usually directed at my partner who gets odd stares anyway, even when she’s alone, from the way she looks. When we’re together, people ask her where she’s from, assuming I’m the one who’s from here and she must be from somewhere else. [...]

And of course, we are here. And there are many of us. Unfortunately, the ignorant views (often guided by religious beliefs and/or “family values”) makes it harder for us to come out and even threatens our safety. [...]

The truth is, it’s not easy being queer anywhere. And yes, I agree that it’s especially not easy being queer in Armenia. But please don’t for a moment think that there aren’t any LGBT folks here, or that we can’t live our lives here like everyone else.

Life is full of contradictions. You don’t have to go far or look too hard to see the diversity that exists in the lives of those around you... even on these ancient lands.
Read her blog post here.
***
Recently, Adrineh also made a guest post on Bekhsoos, gay Arab magazine: Being Queer and in Love in Yerevan (Armenia)

Thursday, 12 August 2010

"Pupule Punch"... the cocktail


*Cocktail menu, restaurant in London.

**You have to know Armenian to understand why I got amused seeing the cocktail named "Pupule Punch" :)))

Hate crime in Baku? Double murder of two transvestites

Via Tert.am, Vesti.az reports on double murder in Baku of two transvestites. Source in Azerbaijan’s capital police district suggested of their "possible non-traditional sexual orientation”. As per reports, they were wearing women’s wigs, lingerie, and having bright coloured nail manicure. They were found dead with multiple stab wounds.

Убитые в Баку мужчины были в нижнем женском белье

19:30 11-08-2010

В Ясамальском районе Баку за сутки совершено второе убийство, но на этот раз двойное.

Об этом сообщили Vesti.Az в 27-ом отделении Управления полиции района.

По адресу пр. Гусейн Джавида 546 были обнаружены тела двух мужчин с многочисленными ножевыми ранами.

В результате следственно-оперативных мероприятий, проведенных сотрудниками Главного управления полиции города Баку, прокуратуры города Баку и управления полиции Ясамальского района были установлены личности убитых – ими оказались Гасымов Замиг Гасым оглу и Кузьмин Ядигяр Эльдар оглу.

По словам источника в правоохранительных органах, предположительно убитые придерживались нетрадиционной сексуальной ориентации - по полученным данным в момент совершения преступления оба молодых человека был облачены в нижнее женское белье.

Кроме того, на них был надеты женские парики, а ногтях был сделан маникюр яркого цвета.

На теле одного из убитых было обнаружено 7 ножевых ранений, а у другого – 5.

Дело передано в Бакинскую городскую прокуратуру. По поимке преступника проводятся оперативно-розыскные мероприятия.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Breaking: gay marriage ban (Proposition 8) was ruled unconstitutional in California

BIG victory for gay rights movement. Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, was ruled unconstitutional by chief US judge. Here is hoping it will survive the appeals too. History in making. 


Congratulations to LGBT Armenians in California!!