Wednesday 30 December 2009

Unzipped: Gay Armenia in Armenian online news outlet 7or's "Armenian blogs review 2009"

I am touched. Many thanks for such a reflection of my blog (AM):

"2009–ի ընթացքում հանրագիտարանային լինելու հավակնություններ ձեռք բերեց «Unzipped: Gay Armenia» բլոգը։"

Friday 25 December 2009

State homophobia in Georgia: The Bridge (short film)

Considering current troubling developments in Tbilisi, Georgia, this film seems even more relevant. Many thanks to Dear Kitty. Some blog for the link.

A gay couple from Tbilisi, Georgia (former USSR) escapes homophobia in their home country by immigrating to Australia. One has his application for permanent residency in Australia approved but their future together hangs in the balance awaiting the arrival of the second letter from immigration.

Director: George Barbakadze
Writers: George Barbakadze, Fleurtasha Cooper

Watch this film.

Armenian groups condemn violence against gays in Georgia and call for immediate release of detained Georgian gay rights activist Paata Sabelashvilli

The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) is very troubled by the news that Georgian Police have attacked the office of the Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation and arrested the head of the organization, Paata Sabelashvilli.

Dedicated to establishing a democratic Georgia, “where sexual orientation and gender self-expression would not be the ground for discrimination,” the Inclusive Foundation is an important voice in the Caucasus, which is still plagued by homophobic public policies and severe brutality against LGBT people in general.

In a statement issued today, ILGA-Europe said it was “shocked” by the conduct of the Georgian police, “which had clearly homophobic motives.” The group called for the immediate release of Mr. Sabelashvili. AGLA NY joins its voice in the international call for the release of the LGBT leader. [...]

/emphasis mine/

In a separate post, Queering Yerevan expressed solidarity with the Inclusive Foundation: "We condemn violence against queers in Georgia"

PINK Armenia posts appeal by the Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation and keeps informed its readers on the latest troubling developments in Tbilisi. (here and here)

Thursday 24 December 2009

Europe's gay rights group ILGA-Europe condemns police raid of member organisation in Georgia, demands immediate release of its board member Paata Sabelashvili (statement and pictures)

For more pictures - ILGA-Europe's Photos - Office of Inclusive Foundation (Georgia) after the police raid

*Statement by ILGA-Europe

On 15 December 2009, the police raided an office of the Inclusive Foundation, ILGA-Europe’s member organisation in Georgia, and arrested Paata Sabelashvili, leader of the Inclusive Foundation and a member of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board.

ILGA-Europe is shocked by the conduct of the Georgian police, which had clearly homophobic motives. ILGA-Europe demands the immediate release of Paata Sabelashvili.

Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, said:

“We are very troubled by this news. The information we have received from Georgia indicates that the police acted disproportionately and completely ignored basic rule of law. Moreover, we are extremely concerned about the safety of Paata Sabelashvili, who is not allowed any contact with the outside world.”

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, added:

“ILGA-Europe is in very close contact with our member organisation in Georgia and monitors the situation. We are compiling the facts and details so we can bring this shocking situation to the attention of various European institutions and eventually ensure that Georgian authorities behave in accordance with the rule or law and agreed international human rights standards. We will be releasing any further information as soon as we have more details”.

More details re detention of Paata Sabelashvili, head of Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation

More details re police attacks Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation and detains its leader.
To the President of Georgia
To the Public Defender of Georgia
To the Diplomatic Services accredited in Georgia
To the representatives of International Organizations

On December 15 2009 at 7 pm the office of Inclusive Foundation, a well known Georgian LGBT organization, was raided by five armed men without uniform. The leaders of the organization together with about 15 community members of the ‘Women’s Club” were present in the office. They were ordered not to leave the room and were told that only their chief was of interest to them. The head of the organization, Paata Sabelashvili was taken to a separate room. Then the men made a telephone call and at about 8 pm an additional group of armed men came in. According to witnesses, they did not wear police uniforms (several of them put on jackets with the police inscription only in the office), they did not provide a search warrant, did not inform about their identity or agency they represented and did not explain the purpose of their intrusion.

Witnesses point out that several men reminded them that two witnesses had to be present during the search taking place in another room. Cell phones were confiscated, everyone was moved to a separate room where several men guarded them. Women were locked up in the room for several hours, they were not allowed to contact their families, they were humiliated by being called “perverts”, “sick persons”, Satanists. They were laughed at and several men told them that their photos would be taken and disseminated to reveal their sexual orientation. One of the unidentified men tore down a poster in the office. One of the leaders of the organization, Eka Agdgomelashvili, together with Tinatin Japaridze were threatened that they would be killed if they did not stop demanding search warrants and other official documents. Some of the armed men responded that “we will only show papers to those to whom we need to show them.”

Paata Sabelashvili, the leader of the organization, was arrested as a result of the raid. Soon after arrest he confessed to the possession of 8 grams of marijuana. However, because he made the confession before seeing his lawyer, without the presence of anyone except law enforcement officials, the validity and voluntary character of the confession is highly suspicious.

One of the armed men, distinct with homophobic statements and his aggressive behavior towards staff members, introduced himself as an Operative Officer of the Constitutional Security Department of the Ministry of Interior Giorgi Gegechkori. However, on the pretrial measure hearing of Paata Sabelashvili he appeared as Investigator David Khidesheli. Another man, who later turned out to be the head of the police division, threatened Eka Agdgomelashvili with killing if she immediately would not stop pointing out that they were violating the law. He shouted : “I will kill you!” “I will tear you into pieces!” After one of the staff members said that he was exceeding his powers, he shouted: “Sue me, I don’t give a damn”, “I am myself the Law and the Judge!”

Armed men searched through all bags of staff members in the office. Some of the bags were searched in another room when the owners were not present. Only after that they were returned to their owners. Two women officers forcibly took girls (often in pairs) to the bathroom, stripped them naked and searched them. The girls were humiliated and called “sick” in the process. There was no search protocol composed as a result of the search. Having finished the search, one of the women officers exclaimed that having seen these women, she began to hate women’s body.

Staff members of the organization are under continuous surveillance up till now. Their homes, movement in the city and office are under constant surveillance by cars full of men without uniform. One such car is permanently stationed outside the entrance to the house of one of the staff members.

The raid on the Inclusive Foundation represents a logical continuation of the policy of repression of non-governmental organizations conducted by the Georgian government. It aims at marginalizing, intimidating and discrediting human rights defenders in Georgia. One should have in mind the recent attacks on Georgian civic organizations: public broadcaster of Georgia recently aired a coverage about the alleged attempts of extortion by the members of NGO ‘Human Rights Priority’; Rustavi 2 publicized a defamatory news report about applications submitted by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association to the European Court of Human Rights; Officers of the Ministry of Interior threatened and attempted an extortion from the journalist of newspaper “Batumelebi”. Officers publicly implicated in the incident have not yet been punished despite the assurances by the Ministry of Interior.

We are concerned that particular character of the organization will be manipulated for the purposes of artificially nurturing the aggression of radical fundamentalist groups. It is noteworthy, that the Georgian government has been abstaining from defending the rights of its citizens in such situations. It portrays itself abroad as a victim of the internal clashes of liberal and fundamentalist groups, while internally it appeases to traditionally minded electorate. Hence, we are alarmed about the trend of purposeful discrediting and intimidation of the Georgian civil society leaders.


1) We protest the violation of basic rights, dignity, and identity of victims and demand that those persons, who performed the acts of verbal, psychological and physical violence against the members of the Inclusive Foundation be punished.

2) We demand the Georgian government to react to every similar incident as it is established by the law, conduct inquiries and punish those who perpetrate such acts

3) We appeal to international organizations and diplomatic services accredited in Tbilisi to thoroughly monitor the detention of Paata Sabelashvili and pressure the Georgian government for protection of his Constitutional rights. We ask for continuous monitoring of such incidents and for accountability of the Georgian government to defend the basic rights of its citizens.

4) Georgian media should follow the principle of the presumption of innocence of the individual and should refrain from publicizing unverified information.

5) Surveillance and intimidation of the members of the Inclusive Foundation should be immediately discontinued.

6) We appeal to the Public Defender of Georgia to investigate the instance of raid on the Inclusive Foundation and the arrest of its leader Paata Sabelashvili.

Inclusive - Foundation

*picture - current Facebook profile picture of Paata Sabelashvili

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Police attacks Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation in Tbilisi. Head of organisation Paata Sabelashvili arrested.

Breaking news

On December 15 2009 the office of the Inclusive Foundation, a well known Georgian LGBT organisation, was raided by the police. They did not wear police uniforms, did not provide a search warrant, did not inform about their identity or agency they represented and did not explain the purpose of their intrusion. Members of the LGBT community were present in the office during the raid for a regular meeting of the “Women’s Club”. The men confiscated cell phones of all those present in the office, did not allow them to contact their families, and made degrading and humiliating remarks, such as ‘perverts’, ‘sick persons’, Satanists. They threatened to take photos of the women and disseminate them to reveal their sexual orientation. They also threatened ‘to kill’ and ‘tear to pieces’ one of the leaders of the organisation, Eka Agdgomelashvili, if she did not stop demanding the search warrant and identification documents of the police.

Paata Sabelashvili, the leader of the organization, was arrested as a result of the raid. Soon after arrest he confessed to the possession of 8 grams of marijuana. However, because he made the confession before seeing his lawyer, without the presence of anyone except law enforcement officials, the validity and voluntary character of the confession is highly suspicious.

Staff members of the organization are under continuous surveillance up till now. Their homes, movement in the city and office are under constant surveillance by cars full of men without uniform. One such car is permanently stationed outside the entrance to the house of one of the staff members.

The raid on the Inclusive Foundation represents a logical continuation of the policy of repression of non-governmental organizations conducted by the Georgian government. It aims at marginalizing, intimidating and discrediting human rights defenders in Georgia.

Inclusive - Foundation

*via Gay Caucasus

Monday 21 December 2009

Jonathan Rhys Meyers - the sexiest man in 2009

Was doing some Christmas related shopping today, and noticed this Hugo Boss ad with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Not because of this ad, but because of The Tudors, for me, the sexiest man (among celebrities, movie stars etc.) in 2009 was Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Christmas time: Modern interpretation of a classic fairy tale, Selfridges, London

Overall, this year's Christmas windows displays at Selfridges, my favourite department store in London, were disappointing, except for this modern interpretation of a classic fairy tale.

Saturday 19 December 2009

British rugby legend Gareth Thomas comes out: "I'm gay"

Sport still remains a place where you could hardly find an openly gay sportsman. This is especially true in a more macho-like sports, like rugby (“'It is the toughest, most macho of male sports, and with that comes an image” - Gareth Thomas) or football etc.

Time is slowly but changing, and today’s news that British rugby legend Gareth Thomas comes out publicly about being gay is truly a remarkable one. In a candid interview with Daily Mail, Gareth explains why he made such a decision now, and his struggle in coming to terms with his sexuality. Apparently, he did come out to his wife and friends (team-mates) in 2006, and according to some reports, it was an open secret in the Wales for quite some time, but only today Gareth Thomas decided to come out in public.

I am sure, many of you would recognise yourself in emotions and feelings Gareth reveals, like I did. I highly recommend reading this headlining story in full. Below are few selected quotes.
Today, however, he has taken the remarkable decision to go public. It's his choice. No one has forced his hand.

He just feels attitudes have changed and the time is right for sport to start accepting openly gay people in the same way other professions have in recent years.
That secret, which he'd kept hidden his entire career, was - he admits now - 'like a tight knot in my stomach, always threatening to seep out'.

He says: 'I was like a ticking bomb. I thought I could suppress it, keep it locked away in some dark corner of myself, but I couldn't.

'It was who I was, and I just couldn't ignore it any more.
He says he feels like a teenager again, re-living his youth, discovering who he really is.

He hopes, now that he has gone public, he can still go out with male friends without people assuming he's with a lover.

'Just because you are gay, doesn't mean you fancy every man who walks the planet,' he says.

'I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man.

'I just happen to be gay. It's irrelevant. What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby.

'It's pretty tough for me being the only international rugby player prepared to break the taboo.

'Statistically I can't be the only one, but I'm not aware of any other gay player still in the game.

'I'd love for it, in ten years' time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: "So what?" '
'It's been really tough for me, hiding who I really am, and I don't want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid.

'I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it.

'My parents, my family and my friends all love me and accept me for who I am, and even if the public are upset by this, I know the love of those people who mean the most to me will never change.

'I'm not going on a crusade, but I'm proud of who I am. I feel I have achieved everything I could ever possibly have hoped to achieve out of rugby, and I did it being gay.

'I want to send a positive message to other gay people that they can do it, too.'

*picture - via Attitude

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Turkey: prosecutor considers lesbian love to be obscene


The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation on the book "The 'L' State of Love" by Burcu Ersoy which was part of the "From Women to Women Story Contest" carried out by the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL).

The prosecutor's office reasoned the investigation by claiming that lesbianism is "an unnatural sexual relation" and "obscene".

Zeliş Deniz, member of LambdaIstanbul, a Turkish LGBT organization advocating for LGBT people's human rights, objected to the given reason for the investigation: "In is unacceptable to consider and perceive lesbianism as "abnormal" in world that does not regard homosexuality as a disease".

"Erotic and pornographic publications for heterosexuals can be printed, but at the same time an investigation is initiated on a book telling love stories between women. This is nothing else but homophobia", Deniz added.

Publisher reacts to investigation
İrfan Sancı, owner of Sel Publishing where the book was published, announced on, "The attempt of prosecuting our book for this reason is like ridiculing the the people's current state of mind".

The "From Women to Women Story Contest" was initiated by Kaos GL in the scope of the Meeting Against Homophobia organized for the 4th year. "The 'L' State of Love" was contributed by Burcu Ersoy and has been published at Sel Publishing in October this year.

In the investigation launched 10 weeks after the publication of the book, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office referred to a statement of publisher Sancı.

Sancı pointed out that the book was part of the story contest. He indicated, "There are no expressions in the book that remind of obscenity as defined by the law. On the contrary, it consists of naive stories of love between women with a literary concern". Sancı added that he does not agree with the prosecutor's findings.

The never-ending story of "public morality"
LamdaIstanbul member Deniz said that once more the "public morality" is put forward in the context of LGBT people in Turkey: "Discrimination against people who are not heterosexual arises again. We will experience this sort of investigations, the closure of associations and the confiscation of magazines if article 10 of the constitution on equality is not amended by including sexual orientation and gender identity".

Publisher Sancı is tried at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance under the allegation of "spreading obscenity" regarding his publishing of the books "The Fairy's Pendulum" by Ben Mila, "The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell" by Guillaume Apollinaire and "Letters of a Well-Mannered and Knowledgeable Bourgeois Women" by French writer P.V.

The Prime Ministry Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications banned the novel "Third Class Women" by Anıl Alacaoğlu published by Minima Publishing. Saying that the book "harms children under the age of 18" the board decided for the sale and banned any advertisements regarding the book.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Retro and personal: Georgi Minasyan

It was back in the USSR. I was a teenager and on a river cruise summer vacation with my family (Volga-Don, Russia). There was this Armenian guy there. He was approximately my age, may be a year or so older. He was with a big group of either dancers or musicians, all Armenian. This guy started hitting on me. One of his lines was that I look like Georgi Minasyan :)

Georgi Minasyan was an Armenian pop star, very popular in Armenia; also in Russia. His sexuality was an open secret back then. Basically, it was hardly a secret. Everyone knew that he was gay, but no one cared about it. Georgi was popular and loved by Armenian public. He was our celebrity with lots of gossips surrounding his private life.

I do not really think that I looked like Georgi Minasyan back then. May be, just may be I somehow reminded that guy of Georgi Minasyan, but I think - above anything else - it was more of a coded way for him to tell me: ‘My gaydar recognised you’ ;)

Saturday 12 December 2009

Celebrating PINK's bday: first ever Armenian music video to feature gay love

PINK - 2yrs old :)

This video was made by Sharm holding as part of their first (2005) and pretty successful Yerevan-Moscow transit Armenian-Russian music project. It features diversity of love, including gay love. It's probably the first ever Armenian music video to feature a gay love... starring, among others, Mamikon, head of PINK Armenia, wearing traditional national Armenian costume (տարազով ադաթավոր... ;) Pay a particular attention to the segment 2.40 - 3.08 in the video. There is also a lesbian love scene at the beginning.

Always loved Irina Ponarovskaya. She was so different, stylish, elegant, and one of my favourites of 80s/90s Russian pop scene.

Celebrating PINK's bday: Mamikon and Miss Armenia 2006

PINK - 2yrs old :)

OK, this video may have nothing to do with PINK or things but you have to watch this. Here is our very versatile Mamikon, head of PINK Armenia, playing a straight 'Kazanova' with Miss Armenia 2006. Truly, diversity without limits ;)

Thursday 10 December 2009

Austria became the 18th country in Europe to legalise gay civil unions

Symbolically coincided with the International Human Rights Day - which calls to "embrace diversity and end discrimination" - Austrian parliament made an important decision today by providing a legal recognition for same-sex partners. Although not a full marriage rights (no adoption or artificial insemination rights), this is certainly a step in a right direction.
VIENNA (AP) -- Austria's parliament passed legislation Thursday allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, a move hailed by proponents as a historic win for gay rights in the country. The bill, slated to become law Jan. 1, will give same-sex couples many of the rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts, including access to a pension if one partner dies and alimony in the event of a split.
What all EU countries (and others) should and would eventually do is to follow the example of Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and South Africa  in providing full and equal marriage rights.

Europe's main gay rights group ILGA-Europe welcomes this decision by the Austrian parliament.
On 10 December 2009, the International Human Rights day, the Austrian parliament passed a law on registered partnerships for same-sex partners. ILGA-Europe welcomes this development which makes Austria the 18th country in Europe which provides legal recognition for same-sex partners. The law will come into effect on 1 January 2010.

New EU anti-discrimination poster featuring Armenian activist Lilit Poghosyan

Lilit Poghosyan is a Programmes & Policy Officer at Europe’s main gay rights group - ILGA-Europe, and my dear friend. Earlier this year I posted about Lilit being chosen as the face for the European Commission campaign ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination’. Here is the new poster featuring Lilit. (above, left)
The campaign’s work focuses on the five grounds of discrimination which are covered by two EU Directives:
The Employment Equality Directive protects everyone in the EU from discrimination based on age, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief in the workplace.
The Racial Equality Directive prohibits discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin in the workplace as well as in other areas of life such as education, social security, healthcare and access to goods and services.
Measures to combat discrimination based on a person’s gender are covered by other EU initiatives.
For more about Lilit Poghosyan - read my earlier post here.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Introducing openly gay US Consular Chief in Tbilisi, Georgia

Gay Caucasus, Russian language LGBT blog, introduces newly appointed openly gay US Consular Chief in Tbilisi, Georgia - Patrick Wingate. Below is a brief biography of Patrick Wingate (in English), via US Department of State website.

Gay and Lesbian Pride Month:
Patrick Wingate


Office of Civil Rights
June 2009
Washington, DC

Date: 06/18/2009 Description: Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, 2009: Patrick Wingate © State Dept Image
Patrick R. Wingate joined the Department of State as a consular-coned Foreign Service Officer in January 2004. He and his family served first in San Salvador, El Salvador and then in Zagreb, Croatia. Their next tour is Tbilisi, Georgia.

Before joining the Foreign Service Patrick worked for State and USAID from 1993 through 2003 in Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he served as Washington-based program manager for USAID/OTI projects in Sierra Leone, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Patrick and his Canadian partner, Rami Shakra, were married in Canada in September 2003, and their two children Canaan and Maya were born in 2004 in Guatemala. The Shakra-Wingate Family proudly serves the United States of America abroad, and hopes to be a cultural example of the rich diversity and equality their country has to offer for all families, both foreign and domestic.

Gay women from Armenia and Georgia discuss cooperation

Five writers for the Armenian lesbian blog “Queering Yerevan” visited Tbilisi. They expressed the desire to cooperate with Inclusive’s women’s initiative group. The artists met several representatives of Inclusive’s Women’s Club and elaborated cooperation plans within the framework of both art initiatives and the first ever working meeting of lesbian and bisexual women in the South Caucasus.

*source: Me magazine 2009 No. 3 (12)

Georgia: LGBT posters

The outcome of LGBT postcards competition organised by the Inclusive Foundation LGBT NGO and initiative group are now available online. Below are selected samples which won 1st prizes. For more - see here.

Georgia: Happy belated bday, Me!!

The first and only LGBT magazine in the South Caucasus celebrated its birthday in September. Happy belated bday, Me!! Keep up the great work you are doing.

Me magazine celebrated its 3rd birthday with the publication of its 12th quarterly issue. This occasion was marked by the Georgian LGBT NGO -Inclusive Foundation - in Kvariati, Georgia on 12 September. The issue features music singles by Me and My Monkey band with a specially composed track “With Me” that was performed live at the birthday party along with other original songs by the band. The Forest – duo of electronic music artists, Dj-ed at the event to entertain around 150 guests coming from Georgia as well as guests from ten other countries.

Me magazine’s anniversary issue is available at the following link.

And the tracks from the bonus CD (free and legal for download) - here.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Rare report in Azeri media about local lesbian couple (in Russian)


Азербайджанская однополая семья растит семимесячную дочь04 ноября 2009 15:12
В Азербайджане появилась одна из первых однополых семей, которая вот уже два года и три месяца существует и растит семимесячную дочь.
Ребенок с радостью воспринимает обеих мам и, как все дети, убегает при виде посторонних. Случай сам по себе уникален для Азербайджана, так как до сих пор никто из геев либо лесбиянок, сожительствуя, не ухаживал за «общим» чадом.
Корреспондент побывал в гостях у этой уникальной семьи и увидел весь уклад жизни своими глазами.
Айнур (22 года) и Юля (29 лет) (имена условные) поведали собственную историю знакомства, чему посредничал общий друг.
Когда беременную Юлю бросил муж, женщина осталась без поддержки и близких рядом с отчимом. «Это был какой- то момент, подтолкнувший меня на этот шаг», - рассказывала Юля.
Айнур к тому времени уже имела четырехлетний опыт общения с девушкой, с которой рассталась по собственной инициативе. В отличие от Юли, у нее больше родственников, но они все отказались от дочери.
Вскоре после того, как женщины определились со своими отношениями, накололи имена друг друга на своих руках, Айнур переселилась жить к своей подруге. Она стала работать вместо мужчины на стройке и в ресторанах официанткой, ведь надо было прокормить беременную Юлю. С приближением родов они обе стали искать больницу, где можно было бы безопаснее и дешевле организовать роды.
«На руках у меня было только 300 манатов. С этими деньгами мы не знали куда идти, ведь кроме родов Юле еще надо было питаться. Общими усилиями мы вышли на одну правозащитницу. Она, в свою очередь, через собственные каналы договорилась об организации бесплатных родов в Центре акушерства и гинекологии»,- добавила Айнур.
После родов, им до сих пор помогают чем могут их друзья. Айнур не имеет постоянной работы. Ее никто не воспринимает всерьез, да еще и проблема с документами. Даже попытка называться мужским имением порой не дает своего результата. Диплом бухгалтера остался лежать в ящичке комода, да и по специальности Айнур работала недолго.
Сейчас она вместе с Юлей намерена уехать в Россию, где на однополые пары обращают меньше внимания.
Со слов хозяек, раньше в Сабаильском районе соседи избегали их, но сейчас стали чаще захаживать в гости, чему стал свидетелем и сам сотрудник Они чаще приходят, чтобы убежать от собственных наболевших проблем, забывая о нравах, где воспитывается грудной ребенок.
Между тем, чтобы прокомментировать данную ситуацию и судьбу ребенка, воспитываемого двумя женщинами, редакция обратилась к психологу Даянату Рзаеву.
По его словам, гомосексуальность родителей в 50 % может повлиять на формирование ребенка, в зависимости от того, в какое русло в процессе воспитания она будет направлена. В определенной форме ребенок всегда принимает модель поведения своих родителей и в этом случае в качестве подражания выступают две мамы нетрадиционной ориентации. Однако немаловажен и генетический фактор. Воспитание тоже имеет свое особое место.
«Только чтобы огородить ребенка от возможного влияния на нее роли родителей нельзя отбирать у них девочку. Вполне возможно, что именно эти родители очень хорошие мамы, ведь женский гомосексуализм бывает семейным», - заключил психолог.
В свою очередь, директор Клиники прав ребенка Назир Гулиев считает, что так как в местном законодательстве нет понятия однополая семья, вторая женщина (в этом случае Айнур) не является биологическим родителем – она постороннее лицо ребенку. Однако даже у постороннего лица есть право на воспитание ребенка при согласии на то биологических родителей. Под понятием постороннего лица можно назвать нянек, преподавателей и воспитателей.
Если поведение одного из них вредит воспитательному процессу, родитель имеет право обратиться в соответствующие органы.
Также по поводу однополой семьи высказалась глава Общества прав женщин Новелла Джафароглы. Она считает, что в Азербайджане ментальность не позволяет жить однополой семьей и это считается аморальным.
«В случае, если однополые семьи все-таки будут преследоваться, правозащитники смогут вступиться за них. Однако среди восточных стран очень мало найдется государств, которые смогут привыкнуть к однополым семьям», - отметила правозащитница.

З. Ибрагимхалилова

Monday 7 December 2009

Video: 'Male striptease in the Russian army barracks' ;)

Via Towleroad, I came across this YouTube video, which was reportedly made in the Russian army barracks. According to the video description, "What real men do when they are in the army? Dance for each other." Lovely ;)

Yerevan diaries: No ‘pure’ girls

When in Yerevan, I had a meeting with a group of my high school male friends whom I have not seen for ages. Not that I particularly wanted this meeting, as I always knew that there is an ocean between us in terms of our mentality and everything. But hey, for old times’ sake, I thought, well, will go for it. We talked about this and that, and then the inevitable topic of girls.

My school mates sounded genuinely upset, as if the world turned upside down for them. They said it’s now impossible to find ‘pure’ girls in Yerevan to date and marry. And no, it’s not just virginity they were referring to. The whole ‘world order’ has changed for them. They complained of not being able to find girls who would prefer sitting at home with their mother instead of working. When I asked what is wrong with women working especially as they seemed to be OK with girls getting university education (they actually preferred that! - of course, they would - it’s a matter of ‘honour’ or ‘reputation’ for them to have a university educated wife). Well, the answer was - “I can’t and do not want to change myself. I grew up following my father’s example. My mother had a university degree education, but she did not work, rather preferring to be a housewife, and I, like my father, want to be sure that whenever I turn up home, my wife is waiting for me”... and similar things.

What was a catastrophe for them (no ‘pure’ girls in Yerevan) was actually a very positive sign for me. Yes, things are changing in Yerevan, and I loved those small signs of progress.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Tweet of the Day: Yerevan airport taxi driver asks about gay marriages in Europe

Usually airport taxi drivers ask why someone would stay in #Armenia. Today's wanted to know if gay marriage existed in #Europe. #LGBT

My optimistic reaction to this:

You know what they say. Taxi drivers are good sources of proxy indicators to get a 'vox populi' perspective of what's going on in any particular country. The mere asking such a question by a Yerevan airport taxi driver may be a proxy indicator that things are changing in our country, after all, even if to a very little extent, even if it's "some seeds", for whatever reason he asked...

Thursday 3 December 2009

Turkey: latest LGBT news/links

1. Gay refugees flee persecution but remain at risk (WorldFocus)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees are among the most vulnerable refugee groups in the world today, according to Neil Grungras, the executive director of Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM).[...]

ORAM is currently providing legal representation to LGBT refugees in Turkey. The vast majority of them are Iranians who have fled execution or other severe punishment in Iran and Turkey happens to be their “country of first asylum.”

Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil interviews Neil Grungras about ORAM’s refugee clients in Turkey. A refugee and immigration advocate with more than 20 years of experience, he has worked extensively on behalf of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. [...]

Our clients in Turkey are predominantly sexual minorities - lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender individuals from Iran. The abuses they face almost always emanate from the Iranian authorities. These include harassment, arrest, interrogation, torture, beatings, and execution.

It is estimated that 4000 LGBTs have been executed in Iran since 1978. While no one can be certain of the exact figure, LGBTs live in constant fear of discovery or outing there.[...]

While the Turkish government does not persecute LGBTs, conditions in Turkey for these individuals are extremely harsh. Like other refugees there, our clients are typically not permitted to work, and have no access to normal health care, social assistance or housing. LGBTs in Turkey are also targeted with violence by local populations, and the authorities are often unable to extend them protection. Several of our clients in Turkey have been beaten and many have been threatened with violence. In some towns, the situation is so severe that some refugees fear venturing outside in daylight. During the past year, many of our clients have reported threats and actual violence against them. A few clients were beaten so seriously that they required hospitalization.

We recently detailed these and other abuses in our co-publication with Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Turkey titled Unsafe Haven: The Security Challenges Facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Asylum Seekers in Turkey.[...]
2. Soul-Searching in Turkey After a Gay Man Is Killed (NY Times)
More about this case - see one of my earlier posts

3. Acvists target Turkish law (Pink Paper)
The Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association in Ankara, Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have teamed up to demand that Turkey's "Law of Misdemeanors" be rewritten to protect transgender people's rights to free expression, association and movement.

"In recent months," the groups said, "the harassment of transgender and transsexual persons in Turkey has intensified as police abuse the country's Law of Misdemeanors to legitimise daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention and police brutality. The law gives security forces tremendous leeway to punish any noise, disobedience and disturbance, with virtually no oversight in how the law is applied or recourse to those who are penalised."[...]

Wednesday 2 December 2009

HIV and human rights: HIV/AIDS educational campaign in Gyumri and Vanadzor 4-6 December 2009 supported by OSI Armenia

*press release in Armenian

Բաց Հասարակության ինստիտուտի Հայաստանի մասնաճյուղի նախաձեռնությամբ 2009թ-ի դեկտեմբերի 4-ից մինչև 6-ը Հայաստանի մի շարք մարզերում իրականացվում է ՄԻԱՎ/ՁԻԱՀ-ի դեմ պայքարի համաշխարհային օրվան նվիրված քարոզարշավ:

Քարոզարշավի շրջանակներում նախատեսվում է Գյումրի, Վանաձոր քաղաքներում կազմակերպել կլոր-սեղան քննարկումներ և հեռուստաեթերներ, որոնց ժամանակ հանրությանը կներկայացվեն ներարկային թմրամիջոցներ օգտագործողների, նույնասեռականների, սեռական ծառայություններ մատուցող անձանց, ինչպես նաև կանանց ու երիտասարդների խնդիրները ՄԻԱՎ/ՁԻԱՀ համատեքստում: Կքննարկվի նրանց իրավունքների և հիմնարար ազատությունների լիարժեք իրականացման անհրաժեշտությունը` որպես ՄԻԱՎ/ՁԻԱՀ համաճարակի դեմ գլոբալ պայքարի կարևորագույն բաղադրիչ, քանի որ հանրային առողջության պաշտպանությունը հնարավոր է միայն մարդու բոլոր իրավունքները պաշտպանելու միջոցով:

Քարոզարշավին մասնակցում են խոցելի խմբերի շահերի պաշտպանություն իրականացնող մի շարք կազմակերպություններ, այդ թվում` Հելսինկյան Քաղաքացիական Ասամբլեայի Վանաձորի գրասենյակ, Հակաթմրամոլային քաղաքացիական դաշինք, Իրական Աշխարհ, Իրական Մարդիկ, ինչպես նաև Հանրային տեղեկատվություն և գիտելիքի կարիք հասարակական կազմակերպությունները:

Առաջին կլոր-սեղան քննարկումը կիրականացվի դեկտեմբերի 4-ին ժամը 16.00-ին Գյումրի լրագրողների Ասպարեզ ակումբում: Նույն օրը` ժամը 20.00-ին Գյումրիի Ցայգ հեռուստաընկերության ուղիղ եթերով կկայանա հեռուստաքննարկում, որին կմասնակցեն վերը նշված կազմակերպությունների ներկայացուցիչները:

Երկրորդ կլոր-սեղան քննարկումը կիրականացվի Վանաձորում` դեկտեմբերի 5-ին ժամը 15.00-ին, իսկ հեռուստաքննարկումը կկայանա ժամը 19.00-ին Վանաձորի Լոռի հեռուստաընկերության ուղիղ եթերով:

Լրացուցիչ տեղեկավության ստացման համար կարող եք դիմել Հելսինկյան Քաղաքացիական Ասամբլեայի Վանաձորի գրասենյակ` Իրավական աջակցություն Լոռու, Շիրակի, Տավուշի մարզերի և Երևանի թմրամիջոց գործածողներին ծրագրի համակարգող Ելենա Սարգսյանին (հեռախոս 374322 4 22 68,

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office

Video: World AIDS Day march in Yerevan, Armenia

More about the events - here.

*video - A1+
**see Picture of the Day - here

Monday 30 November 2009

YES to SEX... NO to AIDS - party at Aftershock Republic for a worthwhile cause to mark World AIDS Day in Yerevan on 1 December

Participate in World AIDS Day events in Yerevan and finish the day in style and for a very worthwhile cause. Party at Aftershock Republic. Say "Yes" to Sex, and "No" to AIDS. Many surprises will be awaiting you there. Even more - the entrance is only 500 AMD, which will be donated to PINK Armenia.

For details of the event - see its Facebook page.

“Stop the Counter” events to mark World AIDS Day 2009 in Yerevan, Armenia

This year, group of Armenian NGOs united to mark World AIDS Day with a broad range of actions. Other individuals and organisations stage World AIDS Day related events too.

Organisers held a press conference today which has been widely reported by Armenian online media. As rightly pointed out, the “Armenian public continues to cling to HIV/AIDS stereotypes”.
The other participant in today’s press conference, Mamikon Hovsepyan of PINK Armenia (Public Information and Need of Knowledge), turned his attention to those issues which affect gay and lesbian individuals, as well as substance abusers. “Because of discrimination and intolerance, they cannot go see a doctor or seek treatment.”

According to Hovsepyan, there is a widely held belief in Armenia that the danger of contracting the HIV virus stems mostly from gay and lesbian people; though, in reality, the virus is most often spread among heterosexual people. In Armenia, people’s rights continue to be violated, while the accessibility of treatment continues to remain a dream, concluded Hovsepyan.
Here is the schedule of main events planned for 1 December 2009 in Yerevan. I hope this collaboration will continue throughout the year, and we will see more actions planned in regions.

[Earlier, within the framework of “Stop the Counter” action, PINK Armenia and Armenian Student Forum organised trainings on 26-28 November to raise students/youth awareness about sexual health issues.]

Public Information and Need of Knowledge, Armenian Student Forum, Real World - Real People, Positive People Armenian Network non-governmental organization are organizing “Stop the Counter” action dedicated to World AIDS Day aiming to raise society's awareness and consciousness about the spread of HIV and stigma & discrimination against people living with HIV. (via PINK Armenia)
1 December 2009

16:00 Stop the Couner March starting from the park near to Yerevan State Conservatory and ending at Cinema Moscow. (for more details, in Armenian - see Aysor)

16.00 march > from Komitas statue (in front of Yerevan State Conservatory)
17.30 human ribbon > Republic Square
18.00 stop the counter > Aznavour Square (in front of the Cinema Moscow)

19:00 Cinema Moscow: “Who never leaved” film screening,

19:30 Cinema Moscow: “The Famous Armenian Cultural Figures against AIDS” exhibition opening, 22:00 KAMI club, afterparty with DJ Vakcinology. (for more about the exhibition and club party - see Hetq Online)


If there is one party you should go on 1 December in Yerevan, it's party at AFTERSHOCK REPUBLIC. Surprises, information, worthwhile cause. Enter the club (only 500 AMD) and this all goes as a donation for PINK Armenia!!
! Read here for more.

This events are supported by UNAIDS.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Dita Von Teese on her Armenian roots at a book signing event in London

I met Dita at Waterstone's bookstore in central London. She is a famous American burlesque artist, model and actress. She was in London for a book signing event for her newly published book Dita Stripteese. She looked stunning and elegant.

I managed to have a very brief chat with her. As you may remember from one of my earlier posts, tweetting during Eurovision 2009, Dita Von Teese revealed that she is part Armenian:
"At eurovision, The Armenians are killing me with their hair and especially the fierce cateye liner! LOVE! I am part Armenian, in fact." *
I then looked over various sources but could not find any info to clarify this further. So I used this opportunity to ask Dita directly about her Armenian roots.

She said to me that unfortunately she does not know much about her Armenian roots. She said that it's from her grandmother's side saying that her grandmother was "adopted Armenian".

Long queues outside the Waterstone's bookstore on Piccadilly, London.

Book signing, Waterstone's bookstore, Piccadilly, London.

...And here is more info about her truly a "playful and beautifully packaged book" - Dita Stripteese. Happy to have it signed by Dita :)

Thursday 26 November 2009

Police in Georgia targets Batumi-based newspaper journalist using KGB-style gay blackmail reports: The Batumi-based weekly newspaper, Batumelebi, said law enforcement officers attempted to “blackmail” and “intimidate” its journalist, including through use of “stigma persisting in Georgia” towards homosexuality.

It said in a statement on Thursday, that on November 25 head of the newspaper’s journalistic investigations unit, Tedo Jorbenadze, was summoned by Interior Ministry’s Special Operations Department’s (SOD) local division in Adjara Autonomous Republic to talk about “some personal matters” and “about his sexual partner.”

Before going to the SOD’s Adjara headquarters in Batumi, Jorbenadze informed about the summoning newspaper’s director and editor-in-chief, Mzia Amaglobeli and Eter Turadze, respectively, who decided to accompany colleague at a meeting with the law enforcement officers. However, according to the statement, the editor and director were not allowed to attend a conversation between Jorbenadze and the officers.

The Batumelebi said that during the meeting Tedo Jorbenadze was shown what seemed to be cropped black-and-white photos of near-naked men also featuring the journalist himself.

“Tedo Japaridze was told [by law enforcement officers] that there was an interest towards the Batumelebi newspaper by special services of foreign countries, in particular Turkey and Russia and they needed his assistance and cooperation,” the Batumelebi said. “After receiving a refusal [from the journalist], Jorbenadze was warned that these photos would have been sent to his ailing father, as well as to his colleagues and disseminated through internet. But Jorbenadze told [the law enforcement officers] that they would not intimidate him with cropped photos and left.”

The newspaper said it intended to request the prosecutor’s office to open investigation into the case, which it described as “Soviet KGB-style method of recruitment.”
For Russian version of this report - see Gay Caucasus.
It's not the first time that the journalists of this Batumi-based publication face intimidation.
31 July 2008 - - Public Defender Sozar Subari has requested the prosecutor’s office in Batumi to probe into the alleged “intimidation” of journalists at the local weekly newspaper Batumelebi.

The newspaper, published in Batumi, Adjaran Autonomous Republic, said in a statement last week that it had received an e-mail, which said: “you will find him [one of the newspaper’s journalists] dead with the newspaper stuck in his mouth.”

Prior to the anonymous e-mail, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Eter Turadze, and another journalist were, they say, followed by unknown people. They say the surveillance was deliberately noticable, presumably so as to intimidate them.

The Public Defender’s Office said in a statement on July 31 that the incidents should be investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office as it believed they constituted intimidation.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Yeghishe Charents cover of Marriott Armenia magazine (fall 2009 issue, Yerevan)

Love this Yeghishe Charents cover of Marriott Armenia magazine, via Ara Aslanyan.

PINK Armenia: Tolerance (video)

PINK Armenia uploaded this video to mark the International Day for Tolerance (16 November).

Posters in this video say (as per PINK Armenia video description on YouTube):

- I am a sex worker...
- My mother is the best mother in the world
- By denying me, you don't help me to leave drugs
- Being infected with HIV, doesn't stop me being your friend
- Being homosexual is not a choice
- We all are equal, this world is for everybody

First ever gay Arabic book Bareed Mista3jil goes international reports that the first ever gay Arabic book Bareed Mista3jil, published in Lebanon, will be touring California in December. "Members of MEEM [activist and support group for Lebanese LBTQ women] have already toured Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Denmark, Belgium, France, and Armenia, making the book's release a truly international event."
Bareed Mista3jil, meaning express mail, isn't just the first queer Lebanese book ever published -- it's also the first queer Arabic book, period, to be published
A compilation of anonymous personal narratives from Lebanese LBTQ women of all social classes and religions, Bareed Mista3jil addresses coming out, religion, family, emigration, abuse, and activism. MEEM, an activist and support group for Lebanese LBTQ women, publicly released the book at the Al Madina Theater in Beirut last May, attracting an audience of 400 people.
MEEM organizer Shant (who declined to give her full name) described the book as a big step for Lebanese LGBTs.
"We can actually talk about our experiences and show that they touch more than just the lesbian community," she said.
Shant reports a lot of positive feedback for the book, which is sold at Virgin Megastores in Lebanon, and MEEM is already planning a fourth reprint to keep up with demand.
It's not surprising that the first queer Arabic book debuted in Beirut, given that Lebanon is known for having a relatively free press (compared with other Arab nations) and a liberal capital city. However, queer activists in Lebanon still have their work cut out for them. Homosexuality is sometimes punished under a law banning "sexual acts against nature," so coming out is not always safe or even possible (hence the anonymity of Bareed Mista3jil's writers).
"Some [queer women] are very out with friends and family and closeted at work; some [are] out at work [but] closeted to families. There isn't the notion of 100 percent out," said Shant.
MEEM is now campaigning to overturn 534, the Lebanese law used to punish homosexuality, and maintains a monthly e-magazine, Bekhsoos.

Monday 23 November 2009

PINK Armenia and Armenian Students Forum unite forces to raise students awareness on sexual health

I welcome this initiative. They say, “united we stand...” They are right.

PINK Armenia (“Public Information and Need of Knowledge”) and Armenian Student Forum are organizing “Stop the Counter” action dedicated to World AIDS Day to raise students/youth awareness about sexual health issues.

Within the framework of this action, the organisers with the help of non-formal education will conduct trainings on issues related to sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.

PINK Armenia and Armenian Student Forum are looking forward to your active participation.

The trainings will take place at PINK Armenia’s office on 26-28 November and are free of charge: 2 Pushkin, apt. 11 (near Sakharov Square).

For more information, contact:  tel: (010) 58 09 44,

Armenia: violence against women (posters, part 2)

For part 1 - see Unzipped

Look at these posters. Difficult, I know. Chilling, I know. ...But do not turn away. Let’s face up these real life stories of violence against women still happening in our society.

These posters will be translated into Armenian, and used throughout the country as part of the campaign by Women’s Resource Centre to stop violence against women.
On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan will mobilize community members and other NGOs to protest gender violence. The events planned for November 25th will mark the beginning of 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls, which will include an exhibition and film screening at Kino Moscow in December. This will be the fourth year that the Women’s Resource Center has joined countries around the world in organizing events on November 25th to raise awareness about the issue of gender violence.

*posters by zArt - Araz Artinian

Re: ‘trendy’ topics in Armenian media, blogs and more

There is this recent trend in Armenian media and blogosphere. More and more people started writing, reporting, speaking of gay related issues, women rights, HIV/AIDS, sex etc. hoping to boost their ratings by using these ‘trendy’ topics. [not all, of course, some of them genuinely care of and interested in the issues they raise]

On one hand, it’s good that these topics became part of a more mainstream talk. Even if with mistakes, frequent lapses, discussions will help to eventually grasp the core of the issues and move on to a more civilised and informed level. On the other hand, in majority of cases, those who initiate or engage in discussions have little to no knowledge of what they are talking about, and this results in a frequently disappointing outcome with the spread of misinformation and deepening of intolerance. (just couple of latest examples - here and here)

Another related point I want to make here is that some of those who by their position (head of, say, HIV related agency or NGO) are supposed to tackle the issues as part of their daily routine, do it only from one ‘red day in the calendar’ to another, leaving the other days empty, thus imitating rather than really working on problems and issues. As the World AIDS Day (1 December) is approaching, we may (and do) notice significantly more related press conferences, reports and TV/radio programmes.

Here is PanArmenian.Net recent report from a round table against discrimination of HIV-positive people in Armenia organised for media and interested parties by the national centre for AIDS prevention and some NGOs. PanArmenian did a good job in capturing the essence of the issues discussed there. Now if only people who organised the event do it more regularly throughout the year, and if only Armenian media follow such examples of good reporting and make it a routine practice... After recent ‘incident’ with Aravot daily (see here), I became a bit cautious in praising good examples from Armenian media. They are so inconsistent. One day, they may post a great article, next day - a bigoted one which will destroy all the good job they did a day before.

Рафаел Оганян: Мы боремся за то, чтобы общество перестало клеймить людей, живущих с ВИЧ
20.11.2009 18:53 GMT+04:00
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ «Общество выделяет людей, живущих с ВИЧ, и ставит на них клеймо, думая тем самым, что ограждает себя от существующей проблемы. Но при этом люди получают меньше информации о путях передачи ВИЧ, методах его лечения, и становятся более уязвимыми к этой болезни. Поэтому, при проведении мероприятий, мы в первую очередь обращаем внимание на изменение отношения общества к людям, больным вирусом ВИЧ. Мы боремся за то, чтобы общество перестало клеймить и дискриминировать этих людей», - заявил 20 ноября на организованном для заинтересованных общественных организаций и представителей СМИ круглом столе начальник Отдела по пресечению СПИДа Республиканского центра пресечения СПИДа Рафаел Оганян. Круглый стол был посвящен теме “Исключение проявления дискриминации по отношению к людям, живущим с ВИЧ, и их социальная поддержка”. Отношение общества к людям, живущим с ВИЧ, гости раскрыли на одном примере: журналиста, сказавшего, что он болен вирусом ВИЧ, просто высадили из маршрутного такси. “И это не единичный пример. Люди, живущие с ВИЧ, сталкиваются с подобным отношением каждый день: на улице, в кафе или даже в больнице. Случалось даже, что роженицам, больным вирусом, отказывали в медицинской помощи при родах. Дискриминация способствует тому, что, чувствуя на себе клеймо общественного мнения, люди, больные вирусом, замыкаются в себе и не проявляют активной деятельности. А ведь доказано, что именно такие люди наиболее полезны в деле поддержки больных этим вирусом», - подчеркнула представитель общественной организации “Реальный мир – реальные люди” Лусине Паносян. Представитель общественной организации «Армянская сеть позитивных людей» Аргине Степанян представила результаты эксперимента, проведенного организацией весной 2009 года. «Мы провели опрос среди персонала 18 стоматологических клиник, спросив, примут ли они на лечение людей, живущих с ВИЧ. По его результатам, без каких-либо проблем лечить таких пациентов согласились только работники шести клиник. Четыре клиники наотрез отказались принимать этих людей, а представители остальных шести организаций сказали, что, наверное, приняли бы этих пациентов. Но эти слова прозвучали не очень обнадеживающе», - заявила она. В деле изменения общественного мнения о людях, больных вирусом ВИЧ, организаторы круглого стола отвели значительное место СМИ. Однако Рафаел Оганян подчеркнул, что, приступая к освещению проблем ВИЧ и СПИДа, журналисты должны сначала сами глубоко изучить все аспекты этой проблемы, и уже потом представлять ее обществу. Особенно участники остановились на терминологии. В частности, президент НКО «СПИД – профилактика, обучение и лечение» Артак Мушегян подчеркнул: «Терминология болезни очень гибкая, и за ней нужно следить каждый день. За последние несколько лет мы уже перестали называть больных вирусом ВИЧ носителями вируса, сейчас мы четко разделяем ВИЧ и СПИД. И это не весь список изменений. Терминология, употребляемая журналистами, очень важна, так как она тоже является фактором формирования общественного мнения». Каждое третье воскресенье мая признано Днем памяти погибших от ВИЧ людей, а 1 декабря – День борьбы со СПИДом. Гости отметили, что в этот день предстоит много мероприятий, а в частности молодежное шествие по городу. Однако, по их словам, очень важно, чтобы о проблеме ВИЧ и СПИДа говорили не 2 раза в год, а все 365 дней в году. Это способствует изменению отношения общества к людям, больным этим вирусом. “ВИЧ – такая же болезнь, как сахарный диабет: вылечить его невозможно, но существуют лекарства, улучшающие качество жизни больных вирусом. Если воспринимать людей, живущих с ВИЧ также как диабетиков, многих проблем можно было бы избежать»,- отметила Лусине Паносян.

LA, Glendale hate crime report: decrease but problem remains - Armenians, Jews, gays targeted in 2008

Hate crimes decrease
Race motivated most in county, followed by sexual orientation and religion
By Veronica Rocha
November 20, 2009

Glendale News Press

LOS ANGELES — Religious hate crimes, including a tagging incident at Glendale’s St. Peter Armenian Church, increased last year throughout Los Angeles County, according to a county report released Thursday.

Religion was the basis for third-largest group of hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County in 2008, according to the county’s Commission on Human Relations annual report. Hate crimes based on a person’s race or sexual orientation made up the largest and second-largest groups, respectively.

“Hate doesn’t have to lead to more hate,” said Robin Toma, the commission’s executive director.

Hate crimes throughout the county that were motivated by religion increased from 105 in 2007 to 120 in 2008, according to the report.

In the area that includes Glendale, La Crescenta, La Cañada Flintridge and Burbank, there were 12 hate crimes last year. That was a steep drop from the 31 that occurred in 2007, a 61% decrease, said Marshall Wong, who helped author the commission’s report.

Race-based hate crimes in Glendale dropped from 25 in 2007 to seven last year. Sexual orientation and disability-based hate crimes also decreased, he said.

Hate-related aggravated assaults dropped from 13 in 2007 to zero in 2008, Wong said.

In Glendale, the race most discriminated against were Jews last year, with Armenians not far behind, with four and three hate crimes suffered, respectively.

The greatest percentage of religious hate crimes were vandalism, followed by intimidation. Most religious hate crimes occurred at homes and religious sites.

The only hate crime reported in 2008 in Glendale was tagging that was spray painted onto St. Peter Armenian Church, Sgt. Tim Feeley said.

A 2-foot-by-2-foot crescent and star was spray-painted on a wall outside the church, which police said was meant to intimidate Armenians by invoking the Turkish flag.

The modern Republic of Turkey has refused to recognize the Armenian Genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1918 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

Overall, hate crimes decreased in Glendale, from eight in 2007 to one in 2008.

“These types of crimes are so personal,” Feeley said.

The city doesn’t have any known hate groups that target residents based on their race, gender sexual orientation or religion, he said.

Glendale, once a bastion for white supremacy groups like the Ku Klux Klan, has changed dramatically as its population has become more diverse, officials said.

“I think Glendale has become a lot more open than in the past,” Feeley said. “We are far more diverse than we used to be. I think initially there was a reluctance to accept the change that Glendale was going through.”

Many residents, he said, have accepted Glendale’s diverse landscape.

“I think people are getting along a little bit better,” he said. “I think it’s really fortunate when you look at Glendale being the third-largest city in L.A. to only have one hate crime is really significant. It’s a testament to the residents that are getting along.”

Hate crimes against Armenians, blacks, whites, Asians, Middle-Easterners and transgender people decreased in 2008, according to the Commission on Human Relations report.

Hate crimes overall declined from 763 in 2007 to 728 in 2008 in Los Angeles County.

But the annual tally was the second largest since 2002, Toma said.

Hate crimes in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s jurisdictions dropped 25%, Sheriff Lee Baca said.

But crimes motivated by hate, especially ones committed by gangs, continue to exist.

“This is always troubling,” Baca said. “We want to have none of this to happen because all people are entitled to exercise who they are under the spirit of the American constitution.”