Sunday, 31 May 2015

US Peace Corps book advice for their LGBT volunteers in Armenia

This is an LGBT-related excerpt from a US Peace Corps book on Armenia ["Armenia in Depth: A Peace Corps Publication", 18 September 2014], providing advice to their volunteers. There are some amusing passages there on expected behaviour re both gay men and women.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Volunteers

“Gay, lesbian and bisexual Volunteers have to practice discretion. Although homosexuals certainly exist in Armenia, homosexuality may be considered immoral by some people. Certain mannerisms considered acceptable in the United States may be viewed with disdain or suspicion by Armenians. Your basic civil liberties may be ignored, and you may be hassled in bars or in the streets.

You may serve for two years without meeting another gay, lesbian, or bisexual Volunteer or Armenian. Most gay, lesbian, and bisexual Armenian probably have migrated to larger cities, while many Peace Corps Volunteers are posted in rural sites. Relationships with host country nationals can happen, but as with all cross-cultural relationships, they are not likely be easy. Lesbians will have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Wearing an “engagement ring” may help. Gay men must deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), girl watching, dirty jokes etc.

The Peace Corps is committed to providing support for all Volunteers regardless of sexual orientation.”

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