Showing posts with label Quote of The Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quote of The Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Respects: Georgia PM Ivanishvili publicly supports rights of LGBT citizens ahead of IDAHO rally in Tbilisi

Georgia PM Bidzina Ivanishvili is the first and so far the only (effectively) head of state in the South Caucasus who publicly voiced his support for equal rights of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.

Says Georgia PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, commenting on upcoming rally in downtown Tbilisi by gay rights activists to mark the International Day Against Homophobia on 17th May: “I have said for multiple times previously that sexual minorities are the same citizens as we are… The society will gradually get used to it. I know there is part of the society which fails to accept it. There are law enforcement agencies in our state and we will do everything in order to protect rights of any minority group and that will be the case in this situation too.”

Pretty groundbreaking statement in a region where homophobia is widespread. In a region where officials, e.g. in Armenia, publicly and without consequences support and justify anti-gay attacks.

My respects to PM Ivanishvili. As a friend of mine commented on Facebook: “So while they're passing anti gay laws in Russia... Georgia's moving into the 21st century.”

Civil.ge reports that on the same day a parallel rally is also planned by anti-gay, Orthodox activists.
Asked how the authorities would act in a situation when there are threats against planned gay rights rally, Ivanishvili responded: “We will protect the rights; [planned two parallel] rallies will probably be distanced from each other; I can’t tell you specifics how it will be done, but there are police, which will stand in the middle and will not allow [anyone] to obstruct others.”  
Asked about his opinion on same-sex marriage, Ivanishvili responded that it was not an issue right now in Georgia and there was no need “to put the cart before the horse.
 


Civil.ge reminds that the first-ever march of a small group of rainbow flag-waving gay activists in Georgia, where anti-gay prejudice runs deep, was held last May. But at the time the march ended in a scuffle with an Orthodox group, which blocked activists' way not allowing them to continue procession. [picture above from 2012 IDAHO in Tbilisi - by InterPressNews, via Civil.ge]

In solidarity with LGBT activists in Tbilisi, Georgia


Identoba, LGBT rights organisation in Georgia, is planning to organise a peaceful action on 17th May – International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

IDAHO has a specific local importance for Georgia. In 2012, Tbilisi IDAHO march was attacked by religious fundamentalists. Several activists were verbally and physically assaulted. The government didn't launched an investigation.

In order to draw attention to the problems faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Georgia, LGBT activists, Identoba and other human rights defenders are planning a 30 minute silent flashmob. The flashmob will start on 13.00 in front of the former parliament building in Tbilisi. All participants will be asked to wear a t-shirt with one of the colours of the rainbow. The participants will be holding posters deploying the discrimination experiences by LGBT individuals in the country.  More details about the campaign on: http://identoba.com/idaho

Monday, 21 January 2013

Today in history: Barack Obama highlights gay rights in an inaugural address

Obama made history today as the first President of the United States to highlight gay rights in an inaugural address:

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

Barack Obama, 21 January 2013 (*source)


Respects, Mr. President !!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Armenia: A Slow Slide Into Fascism? (Huffington Post)

Very powerful post by Christopher Atamian on Huffington Post. A must read that should act as an alarm bell.

"Now of course is not the time to abandon Armenia. Armenia continues to be a strong ally of the United States. Armenians around the world, in spite of the oligarchs' best efforts to destroy their people's reputation as an educated, hard-working minority, continue to be a symbol of survival and success. But LGBT organizations, the American government and the relatively powerful Armenian diaspora must unite in putting real pressure on the Armenian government to reverse the worrying anti-democratic and fascistic developments that threaten to completely engulf the country. The Armenian government must not only fight corruption, it must publicly oppose attacks on all minorities, particularly LGBT people, and promote an atmosphere of democracy and tolerance in the country. Not to do so is to shame Armenians around the world, not to mention the memory of 1.5 million people who lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide."
***
Huffington Post

Armenia: A Slow Slide Into Fascism?


Christopher Atamian 
Writer, director, producer and translator

Armenians in the far-flung diaspora are justifiably proud that their ancestors survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and thrived wherever they went in the world, and that Armenia made a significant contribution in the 20th century battle against fascism, contributing over 500,000 men during WW II to fight Hitler and defeat the Nazis, losing an estimated 100,000 in the process. During the Soviet years which ended in 1991, Armenia was even a haven for Jews as some 10,000 "internal" Jewish immigrants fled Russia, the Ukraine and other Soviet Republics to settle in Yerevan, the country's capital, where they encountered an almost complete absence of anti-semitism and quickly assimilated into the Armenian nation.
But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a far more unseemly and dangerous type of Armenia has emerged. The country has been overrun by a small circle of anti-democratic Oligarchs who have filled their pockets, essentially stealing the nation's wealth while failing to develop the economy: as a result, half the population has left the country and those that remain live in a state of shameful poverty. Elections have been mostly anti-democratic and rigged. The diaspora sends money, opens institutes and businesses and tries as best it can to counteract the frightening news that continues to emerge from Yerevan.
For all practical purposes, Armenia is a step away from dictatorship. It is the same oligarchs who run both the country's business and political worlds who have apparently supported the most recent attacks on the country's tiny and vulnerable LGBT community. Following a brain drain in the 1990s and 2000s, it seems that the Armenian government is intent on chasing out anyone who can possibly contribute to the country's culture, including its LGBT people. Aided by a growing neo-fascist party and a powerful Armenian Apostolic church that also continues to consider gay people "perverted" and "against the interests of the Armenian nation," anti-LGBT sentiment continues to increase in Armenia.
These attacks intensified on May 7th of this year when Tsomak Oganesova's bar DIY was firebombed at 5 A.M. by two Iranian-Armenians who were arrested but quickly set free by a member of the nationalist ARF Dashnaktsutiun Party (the equivalent of Armenian Zionists). DIY was one of the only bars in Yerevan open to free thinkers and where artists and LGBT people were free to gather and exchange ideas. Naturally, many of its patrons were LGBT people. The ARF and the Armenian government have yet to release official statements condemning this last, cowardly attack. In fact Eduard Sharmazanov, the deputy speaker of parliament, also spoke positively about the alleged attackers in a post on his Facebook page. On the ATV television station's "Half-Open Windows" last week one could, however, watch a nauseating alliance of self-proclaimed fascists and priests denouncing gay people in the most vile and deplorable ways.
Now of course is not the time to abandon Armenia. Armenia continues to be a strong ally of the United States. Armenians around the world, in spite of the oligarchs' best efforts to destroy their people's reputation as an educated, hard-working minority, continue to be a symbol of survival and success. But LGBT organizations, the American government and the relatively powerful Armenian diaspora must unite in putting real pressure on the Armenian government to reverse the worrying anti-democratic and fascistic developments that threaten to completely engulf the country. The Armenian government must not only fight corruption, it must publicly oppose attacks on all minorities, particularly LGBT people, and promote an atmosphere of democracy and tolerance in the country. Not to do so is to shame Armenians around the world, not to mention the memory of 1.5 million people who lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Quote of The Day re fascism, intolerance and "right guys" from Armenia ruling Republican party and ARF Dashnaktsutyun

"Все это звенья одной цепи, имя которой фашизм и нетерпимость. «Если я не принимаю, геев значит я фашист?», - возмущаются многие. Нет, принимать или не принимать – это свободный выбор свободного человека. Фашизм начинается тогда, когда убивают, избивают, унижают, ограничивают в правах тех, кто не похож не остальных, и все это под эгидой защиты «национальных ценностей». Уж кому как не нам, армянам, нации, пережившей Геноцид, это не знать.

*source: Armenia Today Приступы самоутверждения РПА и АРФД или «правильные парни» [RU]

[I recommend reading this article by Armenia Today re: ruling Republican party spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov and ARF Dashnaktsutyun MP Artsvik Minasyan (& more) who endorsed anti-gay attackers and encourage more violence towards LGBT people in Armenia. Read also: Terrorists as ‘national heroes’? Armenia ruling Republican party spokesman and MP explicitly support firebombers of DIY bar in capital Yerevan and encourage anti-gay attacks]

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

American director Daniel Kramer at the Mariinsky Theatre speaks out against notorious homophobic law in St Petersburg

Via The Moscow Times: Mariinsky Stages Dark, Brooding Debussy Opera

[...] One thought that comes to mind after reading an interview with Kramer, published in the production's program, is that the theme of forbidden love is also political.

"Look at one of the laws that has just been passed in St. Petersburg," the director said, referring to the notorious bill banning "gay propaganda" that was passed by the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly this spring.

"Does the human heart have rules? Who decides who we can and cannot love? Can anybody govern our hearts? The revolutions of the human heart are unstoppable in my experience," Kramer said.


*Thanks to M. for the link.

Friday, 6 April 2012

#госдеп2 - Russian TV programme by Ksenia Sobchak on motives of scandalous homophobic law in St Petersburg

Highly recommend watching #госдеп2 Russian TV programme with Ksenia Sobchak [Ксения Собчак] re homophobic law in St Petersburg. My personal favourite - among guests of the programme - was sexologist Sergei Agarkov. He did not speak much, but whatever he said was spot on. Armenian sexologists & co, especially the ones who became media 'stars', as of lately, should take a note of their colleague's answers.

And here is what journalist Olga Bakushinskaya said re motives of such laws and stirring up hatred and homophobia in Russian (and not only!) society: "... потому что людьми которые полны ненависти легче управлять" [...because it’s easier to rule over /manipulate with people who are full of hatred]. Quote of The Day, indeed.

More on this topic:

Gazeta.ru editorial: "Traditional orientation" (RU)

Must watch: Russian TV programme makes mockery of proposed anti-gay "propaganda" law in St Petersburg

How I ‘became’ gay. A very personal reflection ahead of return to Stalinism and Fascism in Russia

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Former British Ambassador in Armenia Charles Lonsdale: ‘Limited progress in reporting of gay issues, still long way to go to overcome prejudices’

On his farewell blog post, former British Ambassador in Armenia Charles Lonsdale says:

“[...] There’s also been some progress on gender issues and it’s possible now to hope for some progress on the question of domestic violence in a way I didn’t think possible when I first arrived.  There’s even been some limited progress in reporting of lesbian and gay issues, though there’s still a long way to go to overcome some deep-rooted prejudices.”

More on Unzipped: British ambassador in Armenia says ‘good-bye’. “Love embassy” stays

*picture - via British Embassy Yerevan FB page

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Queering Yerevan: “Meeting with remarkable women”

Guitar Boy "Love in the Desert"



"Love in the Desert" by Nancy Agabian, Ann Perich and Dan Day. Originally released in "Life History of a Star," Infected Films soundtrack. Produced by Jon Mattox & Guitar Boy. Recorded at Red Room Studios. Copyright 1999 Ampus Music/BMI.

*via Queering Yerevan

Two or Three Things She Knows About Shushanik



"Two or Three Things She Knows About Shushanik" (2005). A video by Tina Bastajian on the translation of Shushanik Kurghinian's (1876-1927) poetry into English (by Shushan Avagyan).

*Thanks to Lara for the link to this video. Reminds me of my Quote of the Moment:

"Do not love me as if I were a flower! I want to live a worthy life, as an atom in a mass of troubles, as a child of street mobs."
Shushanik Kurghinian

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Council of Europe issues non inclusive anti-discrimination report on Armenia amid rise in intolerance towards minorities

I have to say, despite Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) report on Armenia dubbed as a 'report against discrimination and intolerance', it almost exclusively touches ethnic/racial discrimination and religious intolerance and only in very vague terms refers to “intolerance” in general, without e.g. specific mention of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or other grounds. I do agree with the prominent Armenian human rights defender Mikael Danielyan that the report is pretty mild. I would also add that the report is not inclusive.

Danielyan says that intolerance towards religious and sexual minorities is on rise in Armenia but the authorities do nothing about it.
"Մեր զրույցի ժամանակ իրավապաշտպանը կարծիք հայտնեց, որ Հայաստանում թե՛ կրոնական, թե՛ սեռական փոքրամասնությունների նկատմամբ նկատելի է անհանդուրժողականության աճ, և իշխանությունները որևէ քայլ չեն անում այդ անհանդուրժողականությունը մեղմելու ուղղությամբ:"
The report mentions ridiculous hateful posters campaign by ultra-nationalist right-wing group Mek Azg (‘One Nation’) but only in relation to religious minorities.
For example, there has been an ongoing poster campaign calling on Armenians to engage - in their own buildings and on their own floors - in a struggle against the antinational and corruptive activities of the sects. [The posters in question are signed by an individual in the name of the “One Nation alliance of organisations.]
Here is an example of homophobic posters in Yerevan by the same group. Read my relevant blog post here.



*Links to press release and full report

Monday, 27 December 2010

“Unnatural” national security ‘top’/‘bottom’ Arthur Baghdasaryan says homosexuality “extremely dangerous” for Armenia


You will hardly find people in Armenia who take Arthur Baghdasaryan and his party - part of the governing coalition - “Orinats Yerkir” [‘Rule of Law’] (or as people call it “hOrinats Yerkir” - word play in AM - turning ‘Rule of Law’ into ‘Made-up’/‘Fake’/‘Invented’/‘Fictitious’...) with respect or seriousness. But he & party have been successfully and regularly used by others. Basically, this is the main calling of the man and his party - being used.

Answering to the query by Armenian homophobic tabloid Iravunk re “flourishing of sexual deviants” in Armenia, Arthur Baghdasaryan, in his capacity as a secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council (!), said he is “against limitations of human rights, in general” but considers homosexuality as “extremely dangerous” for Armenia. He called homosexuality “unnatural” and “unacceptable” for Armenians as the first nation to accept Christianity, with “traditional values”.
Zhamanak daily, via Armenia Today: Тема гомосексуализма стала своего рода поводом для отвода глаз от более серьезных внутриполитических и социальных проблем.

Как пишет оппозиционная газета «Жаманак», «Иравунк» обратился к секретарю Совбеза Армении Артуру Багдасаряну за комментариями на тему «Распространение и процветание  лиц, имеющих сексуальные отклонения».  Исходя из статуса секретаря Совбеза, Артур Багдасарян дал следующие комментарии: «Подобное поведение не пристало армянской нации. Для народа, первого принявшего христианство, семья и традиционные ценности являются приоритетом. Неестественно все то, что неприемлемо. Я против  ограничения прав человека в целом, но гомосексуализм считаю крайне опасным для Армении». [...]
I am not going to discuss the ridiculousness of asking such question, and asking it to the national security official, implying both with the question and with the answer that gays are ‘threat to the national security’. (you can’t expect anything less from Iravunk tabloid, it has to be ridiculous, pseudo-patriotic etc.etc.)

But...

Yes, it is “unnatural” that losers and political prostitutes such as Arthur Baghdasaryan continue heading the National Security Council in Armenia. This is indeed “extremely dangerous” for Armenia. Depending on the direction of the wind blow, he would sell everything and everyone, himself including. And he is very cheap. Putting it Twitter way - it’s #Fail all the way through.

There is a good quote (RU) for people like Arthur Baghdasaryan in the article by Zhamanak daily re above.
via Armenia Today (cont.): В этом вопросе, пишут авторы публикации, интересна не позиция Багдасаряна,  а тот факт, кого заинтересовало его мнение конкретно по этому вопросу и почему именно сейчас. «Вся суть в том, что у Армении есть множество проблем – конституционных, правовых, политических, экономических и социальных, и в подобных условиях поднятие вопроса сексуальных меньшинств на уровне секретаря Совбеза как минимум странно. Странно с той точки зрения, что главной угрозой национальной безопасности Армении являются отнюдь не сексуальные меньшинства, а политические меньшинства, в число которых входит и сам Артур Багдасарян. Именно эти политические меньшинства, выступая в роли приложения властей, пытаются перевести внимание общественности с реальных угроз национальной безопасности, на искусственные вымышленные угрозы. Раз уж вопрос дошел до морали, естественного и неестественного, то в реальности угрозой номер один для Армении является тот факт, что для многих политических деятелей, в том числе и Артура Багдасаряна, стало естественной деятельностью обманывать народ, ругать власти самым жестоким образом, а потом лезть в задницу властей.  Именно в этом и состоит главная угроза, именно это наносит удар по обществу,  системе моральных ценностей, а также демографической картине Армении, поскольку пополняемая подобными политиками власть вынуждает многих покинуть страну. Вместо того, чтобы говорить о христианстве, следовало бы оглянуться в прошлое и выяснить, сколько христианских заповедей было нарушено одной подписью 29 февраля 2008 года (в эту ночь был организован разгон митинга, что впоследствии спровоцировало акцию 1 марта, в результате которой были жертвы – ARMENIA Today.)», - пишет газета «Жаманак».
Remind me what Armenia president Serj Sargsyan claimed in his latest speech? Something about the adherence to European values “from the produce displayed in the shop window and up to the state and legal structure”... Here is a quote (official English version of his speech) from president.am:
“When we talk about strengthening democracy, firm implanting of the European standards, these are not just slogans or idle words meant for other audiences. It is Armenia which needs them foremost, not Europe. This is our conscious course and our conviction. European democracy and rule of law are demands of our society, confirmed firmly on many occasions - at the elections, in criticizing the political forces, or in encouraging the same forces. 
The European standards - from the produce displayed in the shop window and up to the state and legal structure, must become exemplary for us. Today, the issue of becoming a full member of the European Union is not yet on our foreign policy agenda, however I would like to repeat that the European rules of the game and European standards must take roots in our country because these are high and time-tested standards. We need these standards to make considerable progress, to change lives of our citizens and to build up the organizational strength of our society.”
Yeah, sure, with such a ‘dream-team’ of ‘devotees’ to European values....

*source of photo: Photolur, via A1+ (from my archive: Disgrace of the Day - Arthur Baghdasaryan)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Shprot and Vayach: Quotes of the Day

[...] She followed her song, in which she sings about listening to your heart and not letting fear stop you from your dreams, with speaking openly about issues considered taboo to a in interviews.

“I would talk about sex and homosexuality, about issues that weren’t being openly discussed in Armenia,” she says. “I have a lot of gay friends and I understand them. Everyone decides for themselves who to live with and who to sleep with, what business is it of ours to go and interfere with their lives?” [...]

*Shprot: “Armenia Is Too Small For Me”. Extract of the interview by Liana Aghajanian for Ararat magazine

[...] Ես ընկալում, ընդունում ու առաջին հերթին հանդուրժում եմ իմ բարեկամներին, չնայած հանդուրժելը «տոլերանտ» բառի համար ամենահարմար համարժեքը չի հայերենում, ցավոք, այն մի քանի բառի իմաստային համադրություն է, բայց եթե էդպես է լեզուն ասում, ուրեմն ասենք, բայց հասկանանք այլ բան՝ ավելի բարուն ու սիրուն մոտիկ: Որովհետև, եթե կա հասարակության մեջ համամարդկային սիրո տոկոս, երբ կարևոր չի չաղ է, թե նիհար, շեկ է, թե սևահեր, տղամարդ է, թե կին, մեզ համար ավանդական հետերոսեքսուալ է, թե գեյ, այլ կարևոր է՝ ինչպիսի՞ մարդու տեսակ է նա, և որքանո՞վ է նա համապատասխանում քո մարդկային արժեքային համակարգին նրա հետ բարեկամություն անելու համար, կամ մինիմում՝ հանդուրժելու, եթե կարող ես հասկանալ, որ այլ է՝ այլախոհ է, այլազգի է, այլակրոն է, այլառասսա, այլասեռական է նրա կողմնորոշվածությունը քոնից: Էդ դեպքում միայն մենք կարող ենք ասել, որ քաղաքակիրթ ժողովուրդ ենք, որ արժանի ենք տեղ գրավել առաջադեմ երկրների շարքում, ու զգալ նրանց հետ մեզ հավասար, եթե ոչ տնտեսապես, ապա առայժմ գոնե գաղափարապես: Իսկ ամեն ինչ սկսվում է գաղափարական խոհանոցում՝ ուղեղում:

*Extract from the article by Lusine Vayachyan for the Armenian Version: Տրասսի տրանսները, կավատներն ու ռեկետը (AM)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Russian pop star Lolita thanks gays for her "inner freedom" and proud of being called a "gay icon"

"I am proud that I am a gay icon. I have many gay friends, they taught me freedom, an inner freedom. This is something that in our country and other countries, including America, had never been encouraged. [...]", says Lolita answering the question of Moscow-based famous journalist of Armenian origin Arthur Gasparyan in a TV programme aired on Russian NTV.

Respects, Lolita. Love you. You certainly are a gay icon in post-Soviet states. Related posts

*via Gay.ru

"Я горжусь тем, что я гей-икона. К своему счастью, я имею большое количество друзей-геев, они меня научили свободе, внутренней свободе. Это то, что в нашей стране и других странах никогда не поощрялось, включая Америку. Я благодарная геям - и женщинам и мужчинам - за поддержку меня много лет. Потому что если бы не они, я бы, наверное, стояла в маленьком черном платье, худая до безумия, не позволившая себе располнеть, сделавшая сто одну пластическую операцию...", - такой спич произнесла популярная исполнительница Лолита Милявская, отвечая на вопрос журналиста Артура Гаспаряна в эфире телеканала "НТВ".

Cher about her age, boyfriends and child’s gender reassignment surgery

Extracts from her interview with the latest issue of OK magazine.

Quote 1: “Age is a major pain in the ass”.

Quote 2: “I love having boyfriends”.

Quote 3: “Everyone who went before me is an influence for me and everyone who comes after me is influenced by me”.

About her daughter Chastity’s gender reassignment surgery:
OK: As a mother it must be difficult that your daughter is now your son...
Cher: It’s hard - I screw up on the pronouns so often but she’s very soft about it and cuts me some slack. It took much more courage for her to do it because I am her mom, she didn’t have one moment of peace.

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.

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.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Eva Rivas on a mission to promote UK government’s 5-a-day healthy eating target (Eurovison fans)

Let’s see what Eurovision fans are discussing re Armenia entry this year. Below are just few of my picks which made me smile.

One of the frequently discussed topics about Eva Rivas: “how tall is she?”. Predictable, yes. But the curiosity of Eurovision fans doesn’t stop here. They also wonder: “Is she a human?”
“Has anyone seen Eva Rivas's birth certificate? Is she really a woman?”
“She's actually two women put on top of each other :)”
“Once more. Shes an Avatar :)”
Apricot Stone, well, apricots to be precise, inspired an exchange by health conscious fans.
“Just assume Armenia wins... are we going to have a whole bunch of songs about Fruits next year? Perhaps a Healthy ESC-week with fives-a-day :D?”
“Probably Azerbaijan will withdraw,pretending to be on the vegetable side :p"
Here I disagree. 5-a-day target of healthy eating by the UK government implies peaceful coexistence and consumption of both fruits and vegetables :)

Good luck, Eva! And wish you all have fun time tonight. It's the second semi-final, afterwards. Excitement :)

Monday, 19 April 2010

United in laugh and homophobia: Armenia “purest” police chief and media outlets

There were times when you could read here and there that “there are no gays in Armenia”. Well, those times have passed, and could be remembered with smile on our face. Now there is another trend: “there are no gays in this or that Department/Ministry/field...”

Couple of months ago, it was Armenian Army representative who made such ridiculous claims, which were instantly laughed at by Russian language gay websites. Today it’s Armenia police chief’s turn.

Watch this video (AM) towards the end. Pay attention how Armenia police chief and media representatives laughing together when discussing this whole ‘gay/police day’ thingy. They [media, and then police chief] created this fake ‘coincidence’ story, and won’t let it go away despite it being an utter lie and ignorance. Why would they? It’s just a chance to have a good laugh with “the purest” police chief. Apparently, that’s their definition of ‘having fun’.

Armenia police chief Alik Sargsyan statements are ridiculous, outrageous, and bigoted.

He says that Armenian police is “the purest”; there are only “real men” working in police; there never was, and God forbid, never will be anyone with “disorders of [sexual] orientation” there.
«Ոստիկանությունը ամենամաքուրն է եւ ամենազերծը նման բաներից. ոստիկանությունում իսկական տղամարդիկ են աշխատում ամեն ինչով, եւ կողմնորոշման որեւէ խախտում, Աստված չանի, երբեք չի նկատվել եւ չի նկատվի»,-ասաց Ալիկ Սարգսյան: (A1+)



This is a very clear display of homophobia, and human rights violation by Armenia police chief.

In any civilised country, such statements by police chief would lead to media and public outcry and calls for resignation, or at the very least - apology. In Armenia, this leads to a united laugh of media representatives and Armenia police chief.

There is popular saying in Russian, good for this occasion: “Смеётся тот, кто смеётся последним”

And here is the latest from our “purest” police where only “real men” work.

Armenian police: shoot to kill?

P.S. (UPDATE 20 April 2010: apparently, I was too quick to refer to a "positive change" in this radio station - see comments section below) I have to say, that during this whole ‘gay/police day’ saga, Radio Van was one of the very few media representatives which avoided copy/pasting wrong info from other outlets. They made a blog post with appropriate picture, video, and a brief audio interview with the head of PINK Armenia Mamikon Hovsepyan explaining the real meaning of the day. Ironically, this is the radio station which ‘inspired’ me to launch Homophobia Hall of Shame. As I mentioned back then, “The purpose [of the Hall of Shame] is to show that hate is wrong. Hate is not cool. Hate should NOT be profitable. And there are always ways out. You just have to want to get out and make efforts to change yourself for better, to free yourself of hate.”

Lately, I see positive changes in the radio station’s policy, and if this trend continues, I will take them out of the Hall of Shame after 17 May (International Day Against Homophobia).

For now, I updated the Hall of Shame by including Armenia police chief Alik Sargsyan.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Ricky Martin comes out: "I am a fortunate homosexual man"


Not that I had any doubts but today Ricky Martin issued a statement on his blog (via link on his Twitter account) where he ends years of speculations re his sexual orientation, and says: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am."
A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And thisis something worth celebrating.

For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice. The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive. I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.

Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.

If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.

RM

*picture - via Ricky Martin's Twitpic (see also Ricky Martin and his twin son)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Armenia's European orientation: 'Armenia is Europe and committed to European values' (president)

Those values explicitly imply respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens of European countries, including LGBT people.

Remember this quote!!... and use it...
***

“We consider ourselves to be Europeans,” Sarkisian was quoted by his press office as telling Martens. “We are seeking to live by the rules of that [European] family, the value system espoused by it, and in this regard, our orientation is very obvious.”

- says Armenia president Serj Sargsyan,

*In Armenian:

"Մենք մեզ համարում ենք եվրոպացիներ,ձգտում ենք ապրել այդ ընտանիքի կանոններով, նրանց դավանած արժեքային համակարգով եւ այս առումով մեր ուղղությունը շատ ակնհայտ է"

Հայաստանի Հանրապետության նախագահ Սերժ Սարգսյան (president.am)

Sunday, 28 February 2010

IANYAN: "Overheard on the Net: Flashy Cars, Music and Homosexuality"

Looking forward to a four part series re gay Armenians to appear on IANYAN very soon. In the meantime, here is the latest reflection by one of my favourite Diasporan publications. IANYAN reflects few comments which appeared recently on the web here and there. I remember this comment by someone on Twitter:

"I just saw a gay Armenian guy! Never seen that in my life!"

Can't agree more with what IANYAN has to say re above: "It perfectly illustrates all the hurdles Armenian culture still has to overcome to acknowledge, accept and respect homosexuality. It’s also appropriately timed with a four part series that will be appearing on this site very soon. There are gay Armenians every where, all you need to do is open your eyes and mind."