Sunday, 23 December 2012

CNN: Stateless gay Armenian man stuck in American Samoa in real life "The Terminal"

UPDATE 16 February 2013: Good news: stateless gay Armenian will be allowed entry back into US

*Via CNN and Huffington Post

In the movie "The Terminal," actor Tom Hanks plays a man who suddenly finds himself stateless when his country ceases to exist. New York’s JFK Airport becomes his only home.

That movie was loosely based on a true story, but for Mikhail Sebastian being stateless is a dilemma that is all too real. Sebastian is stateless.

He is an ethnic Armenian born in Azerbaijan in what was the Soviet Union. He was forced to flee when the Soviet bloc began to crumble in the 1990s. He tried to take refuge in Armenia but eventually wound up in the newly independent nation of Turkmenistan. But Sebastian is gay and homosexuality is illegal there. So once again, he had to search for a home.

He came to the United States and was allowed to stay as a “stateless person.” There was only one catch: Since he still held the passport from the Soviet Union, a place that no longer existed, he could not travel outside the United States – a tough reality for a man who loves to travel. So Sebastian set out from his home in Los Angeles to too many parts of the United States, including the American territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Last December, he was allowed to fly to American Samoa – a U.S. territory in the South Pacific – for a brief vacation. But while Sebastian was there, he took a short side trip to Western Samoa, not realizing that it is a separate and independent nation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement deemed that self-deportation and so for the past year, Sebastian's been trapped in limbo, unable to leave American Samoa and return to the United States.

Sebastian says his only wish this Christmas is to get back home to Los Angeles.
“It’s horrible here, it’s hot, it’s making me sick, I can’t stand it anymore” Sebastian is quoted as having told GlobalPost over Skype. “I just want to go home.”

Among Sebastian's advocates is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) office in the United States. "There’s a big gap in the legal structure of the United States when it comes to stateless people, and Mikhail has fallen right through it,” spokeswoman Charity Tooze told GlobalPost in October.

xox with Santa: Merry Christmas !!

*Soho, London

From London with love,

x Mika

Thursday, 20 December 2012

"F*ck gender", "Down with the Patriarch": activist video from Georgia

Absolutely loved this. Great example of multimedia activism tackling issues of gender identity, homophobia, religion, freedom...

We need more of this in the South Caucasus and beyond.

A must see.

"Painting activism", Tbilisi, Georgia
Film by Lasha Kavtaradze and George Gogua, 2012

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Pic from inside the toilet (Brussels)

*Pic from inside the toilet, restaurant, Brussels

Brussels: pics

Few pics from wonderfully weird Brussels.

*For World AIDS Day
*For chocoholics, like me :))
 *Flyer: "A queer night of fresh dances, songs, poetry & dicks"
 *Grand Place

*'Free Pussy Riot'

Saturday, 1 December 2012

World AIDS Day 2012 - pics from Yerevan, Armenia

Pictures from the World AIDS Day 2012 event in Yerevan, organised by the Advocacy Group on AIDS (PINK Armenia, Women's Resource Center; Positive People Armenian Network; Real World Real People), with participation of well-known Armenian actors, singers, showbiz reps, club scene stars, to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS. This event was followed by film screening, discussions and after-party.

For more pictures: visit

 *with DJ Vakcina and Sofi Mkheyan
 *with Nazeni Hovhannisyan
*with Sos Janibekyan