Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ginosi Corporation suspends sponsorship of Radio Van upon discovering their homophobic ‘credentials’

Ginosi Corporation travel company suspends sponsorship of Yerevan based Armenian radio station Radio Van upon discovering their homophobic ‘credentials’. In a letter signed on 21 September 2011, head of the Corporation informed the management of Radio Van that they are “disappointed and feel put down by your organization” and announced suspension of all sponsorship plans “effective immediately”.
We recently learned with shock and regret of discriminatory remarks that Shushanik Arevshatyan has made about gays and lesbians on the radio station's official website/blog. This puts as a corporate sponsor of Radio Van in an awkward position not only with respect to our gay and lesbian customers, employees and business relations but also as a company that views corporate social responsibility and equal opportunity in its business practices as a top priority.

[...] We feel necessitated to suspend all future sponsorship plans for Radio Van effective immediately. [...]

With this letter we say good bye to Radio Van and finally, we believe that a public apology by Radio Van to the LGBT community is in order.
Ginosi Corporation further announced that they will be reviewing their current policies and practices with respect to corporate sponsorship programmes “to ensure that we will never again unknowingly finance bigotry.”

For original letter in full, see

My respects to Ginosi Corporation. I hope such an exemplary stance for human rights and against homophobia will set a trend for other companies in Armenia, Diaspora and elsewhere to follow.

I am encouraged that increasing number of people and companies, local and international organisations, agencies and institutions started paying attention and acting upon Armenia: Homophobia Hall of Shame.

There is always a way out from this list of shame. However, I will only remove organisations or individuals from the Hall of Shame if I become convinced that they made genuine efforts to move on leaving homophobia behind.

PINK Armenia becomes member of ILGA - major international gay rights group

Big congrats to PINK Armenia!!


Well deserved.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

On the menu: X-rated ice cream in London

I was wondering why this was dubbed “the world’s first gay ice cream bar”. Well, now I know. It relates more to the special gay-themed menu with at times X-rated ingredients :) Full of cliches, of course, but fun and tasty.

The venue is pretty small but cosy, and I liked the decor.

I ordered "The knicker-bocker-gloryhole" ice cream cocktail ;)) and as a... chocoholic, it was delicious.

I was expecting to see that famous ice cream masseur to try the ‘ice cream facial’ but he was nowhere on sight. Regardless... All in all, it was fun experience.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Armenian gay porn stars: singer / porn star / singer Colton Ford

I first ‘met’ him in New York in 2008.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia: Colton Ford is the stage name of Glenn Soukesian, a former same-sex adult film star (11 films) who has become a mainstream musician and actor. As of May 2007, he resides in New York City.

He has awards for “Gay Performer of the Year” (2003) and “Best Group Sex Scene” (2002).

FB page

Thursday, 15 September 2011

BBC: Treatment of local gays casts doubts on Azerbaijan officials ‘assurances’ that gay visitors are welcome to the 2012 Eurovision

*via BBC News

Officials in Azerbaijan insist gay visitors are welcome to the 2012 Eurovision song contest when the event, which has an enthusiastic gay following, is hosted in the capital, Baku.

However, such assurances jar with those who have had first-hand experience of how homosexuals are treated in Azeri society.

"During Eurovision, no-one will bother gay foreigners in Baku," says Alekper Aliyev, a writer and an author of a controversial book about a gay relationship between an Azeri and a man from Armenia, the country's historic enemy.

"People here don't mind, as long as it's not in their family.

"There are several openly gay celebrities in Baku who have money and bodyguards, and they are safe.

"But nothing will change for the majority of gays, particularly in the provinces. This society will never accept them."

Azeri officials disagree, pointing out that Azerbaijan decriminalised homosexuality in 2001.

"Recently there has been much ill-informed speculation by some expatriates about how we treat our homosexual community," says Elnur Aslanov, a senior official from the presidential administration.

"We consider all this nothing more than an unsuccessful attempt by those naysayers to gain a better reputation in their respective countries in the light of the upcoming Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan." [...]

Read the BBC report in full here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Yerevan Diaries: Love at first sight - DIY, Tsomak & friends

Instead of editorial

First night I went to DIY, and immediately it felt like I am at home there.

I have always wanted to have a regular place in London. But it never worked out. I could never find the place where I would want to go night after night and... Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of nice cool places in London. But so far I was unable to find THE one that I would consider myself a regular at.

With DIY, it was love at first sight. And it’s not just the place. It’s people who run the place and who come to that place that make it such a special and unique venue for me in Yerevan.

Tsomak, Armen & co - I love you. You are beautiful, and what you do is... beautiful. No mirror needed.

Emma, I still remember that delicious black-coloured cocktail, the best I’ve tried in Yerevan. [and I don’t normally like cocktails in Yerevan but this one was an exception] Cheers.

Was so great to finally properly meeting Tsomak (Pincet band). Talented, brave, cool. Girl, you rock!! Love and respects, as always. Absolutely loved you performing live. It was a very special evening for me. I feel honoured and touched that you agreed to live perform during my stay in Yerevan. Unforgettable.

Lily was the symbol of that night.

Here we are. I found THE place. Not in London, but in Yerevan. Can’t wait to come back and meet our mafia (=family) again ;)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Yerevan Diaries (+ more): cult of the erect penis

Downtown Yerevan. The very heart of it. You are in for a treat. Well, depending on your taste and preferences. Still, whatever they are, this could be interesting from historical perspectives too. A statue of soldier with the erect penis.

No, it's not that Cascade soldier welcoming you to Yerevan.

As a friend of mine rightly pointed out: “The Cascade guy doesn't have a penis; it's rather a penny”. The soldier I am talking about has a pretty big one. And you may see it as soon as you enter the National History Museum (Republic square). Up your face! Well, as long as you pay attention to the art work on tickets you are issued. Many people don’t. I do! ;)

But this is just a piece of paper, you may say. Enter the museum, and you are in for a real treat. Statues of soldiers with the erect penises. [Also, this is even more interesting, statues of intersex people (they are described in the museum as “statues of men and women”)... If/when more info on intersex statues become available, I will make a separate post]

But before you enter the hall with the statues, you get a ‘real size’ - sort of :) - experience with the Armenian phallic cult. Quite a few exhibits of stone representations of the phallus excavated from various parts in Armenia are on a prominent display at the National History Museum.

I posted about the Armenian phallic cult two years ago. I’d suggest re-reading that post.

There were times. Some say these were “golden ages” ;)

I was reminded of my post when read Areg’s travel diaries via Turkey (highly recommend!). This one, in particular.

Day 15: Cocks (quotation and two pics below - via One Hell of a Ride)


[...] I swear to God, even though the hotel itself is crap, it is completely worth to get the experience of getting a man you met two minutes ago to ask you if you are gonna see the cocks, and then quickly clarify that he actually means the penises.
“Which penises?” I inquired
“The ones in the Love Valley!” he made a circle on a particular area of the map with pen and wrote “L. V.” — “Love Valley!”
“What are these… penises?”
“They are strange rock formations. Everyone loves to see them! Some of them here” — he marked another part of the map — “have three heads!” [...]
And finally, it all opened for me! I found the cocks! A valley full of phallic symbols — all natural — all carved by nature itself! [...]
I looked around and realized that I was literally surrounded by all sorts of them!
Thin and thick! 
Some surrounded with trees… and bushes! [...]
And so ended the day that shall always remain a day of cocks to me. Amen!
Oh, and you did not read this if you are under 18, did you?