Tuesday 27 March 2012

Georgia parliament approved anti-discriminatory amendment. Any crime motivated by sexual orientation - "aggravating circumstance"

Georgia made a significant step forward towards outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Georgian parliament adopted in its final reading anti-discriminatory amendment that will consider any crime motivated by sexual orientation an "aggravating circumstance".

We need similar provisions for Armenia too. I wonder if the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made similar recommendations for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey? If they have not made yet, well, they should. A comprehensive anti-discrimination provisions covering, along with criminal code, health care, employment, provision of services, education and so on, should be a MUST in a way of furthering integration with the EU.

For now, I may only re-instate what I mentioned in my previous related post: As of now, Georgia is clearly the most advanced country in the South Caucasus in terms of legislative provisions on LGBT issues. [Read more: Georgian Legislation on LGBT Issues - “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book chapter]

*Civil.ge reports

Parliament approved on March 27 with its third and final reading an amendment to the criminal code making the racial, religious, sexual orientation or other bias motives of an offender an aggravating circumstance to be taken into account by the courts.

Aggravating circumstances, according to amendment, will apply to any offense motivated by “race, colour, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, political and other views, disability, citizenship, national origin, ethnicity, social identity, origin, property and other status, place of residence or other discriminatory grounds and intolerance.”

The amendments was made in response to recommendations from the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a human rights body of the Council of Europe, which has been calling on Georgia to enact legislation providing for racist motivation to constitute a general aggravating circumstance applicable to all types of offenses.

The initial proposal was prepared at the Civic Integration and Tolerance Council at the President of Georgia, followed by broad discussions with civil society groups and stakeholders, including in the regions in cooperation with the Public Defender’s Council of National Minorities in frames of USAID project.

In the process of further discussions in the Parliament, upon the recommendations of civil society groups the draft was amended to include not only ethnic, racial or religious factors in the list of discriminatory grounds but also sexual orientation.

Monday 26 March 2012

Burger menu, gay bar, Soho, London

*Soho, London

Anna Safaryan - Defender of Minorities Rights (Armenia Ombudsman Office)

*via Armenia Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) website

Anna Safaryan
Leading Specialist of Vulnerable Groups Protection and Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations

Equality is touchstone of justice; jointly both of them make the essence of freedom.

97% of people living in our country according to census data are Armenians by nationality. All national minorities together form only 3% of the population. But Armenia is a motherland of all its citizens, and all of them have equal rights.

The exceptional mission of Armenian Apostolic Church in the spiritual lives of our people is recognized by the State. At the same time the Constitution of our country provides free space to other religious organizations’ activities. No one should be discriminated for his national identity, religion, or sexual orientation. This is the real expression of democracy, pluralism, equality and freedom, which is fixed in the Constitution and is protected by us.

Defender of Minorities’ Rights

/emphasis mine/

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Armenian water polo team from LA

Cute swimwear. And this water polo team from LA looking hot.

For details and problems this sport and teams encounter in Armenia and Diaspora - read here (English brief version - here).

*picture - via sport.news.am

Sunday 18 March 2012

Front Line Defenders: Interview with Mamikon Hovsepyan on human rights of LGBT people in Armenia

Front Line Defenders is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
Front Line Defenders was founded in Dublin in 2001 with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Below is a video interview by Front Line Defenders with Mamikon Hovsepyan, human rights defender from Armenia, head of PINK Armenia, working on LGBT rights issues (along with many other human rights issues, I must add).

P.S. They misspelled Mamikon's surname: instead of "Hovsepvan", it should read "Hovsepyan" :)

Georgian Legislation on LGBT Issues - “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book chapter

As of now, Georgia is clearly the most advanced country in the South Caucasus in terms of legislative provisions on LGBT issues. (consider also the latest developments: Parliament of Georgia to adopt anti-discrimination amendment in the Criminal Code and Georgia is going to take the hatred towards LGBT into the scope of crime)

Ahead of the 2nd Regional Network Against Homophobia in Ankara, “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book with a separate chapter on Georgia has been published.

Below is Georgian Legislation on LGBT Issues chapter, via Kaos GL.

By Giorgi Gotsiridze
Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association
Tamta Melashvili
Diversity Research and Community Activism Association

Constitutional Guarantees
* Article 14 of Georgian Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of several grounds.
* The sexual orientation is not directly mentioned in the article. Unlike European convention on human rights, Georgian constitution gives exhaustive lists of the ground on which discrimination is prohibited.
* Constitutional Court of Georgia is the competent body to interpret Constitution. Court took broad interpretation of Article 14. The Court stated that discrimination was prohibited on the ground which might not be directly mentioned in Article 14.
* The court has not dealt with the case concerning the discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

Labor Rights
*Since the amendments were introduced in the Georgian Constitution on 15th of August 2010, Labor rights should have been regulated by the organic law. This is superior law than the ordinary one.
*Ordinary Labor Code introduced in 2006 was replaced by the organic labor code on 16th of December 2011.
* There has not been reflected any significant changes in the new code. The relevant provisions on the prohibition of discrimination have been kept.
* Article 2 of this code prohibits discrimination, inter alia, on the ground of sexual orientation
* Article 38 enables an employer to fire employee without invoking any reason. The motivation of the contract breaking could be the sexual orientation of the employee.
* If the employee fired were not afforded with the reasoning explanation, he or she would be unable to produce any reliable evidence to the court in order to prove that the employer had treated him//her in a discriminatory manner.

* A same-sex partner is entitled to have short-term visit with the person incarcerated. The short-term visit lasts from 1 to 2 hours. The meeting should be taken place by the visual control of the prison administration.
* While the draft amendments in the prison code were being discussed by Georgian parliament, the right to long term visits was declined for same-sex partner due to the plain homophobic approach.
* Long-term visit gives possibility for the prisoner to live in the separated compartment of the prison facility with his or her spouse for 3 days.

Right to Marriage
* Defining meaning of the marriage, Article 36 of Georgian Constitution does not mention that only opposite-sex couples could get married.
* However Civil Code of Georgia defines marriage as “relationship between a man and a women”.
* Georgian Constitution keeps the issue open whether the prohibition of same-sax marriage is constitutional.
* Georgian legislation does not guarantee for same-sex couples to enter into the registered partnership relationship.

Parental Rights
* A single member of the LGBT community is entitled to adopt a child
* A single women, including lesbians, can use artificial insemination and be recognized as a parent of the child given a birth through the artificial insemination.
* Couples, not being necessary to be the spouses, are entitled to use extracorporeal fertilization in order to have their own children.

Prohibition on Blood Donation
* Order of the Minister for Labor, Social and Health Protection prohibits risk groups of HIV/AIDS from being a blood donor.
* Homosexuals are directly listed as the risk groups of HIV/AIDS. LGBT people are clearly stigmatized as homosexuality in itself has been exposed to be the risk factor as a cause of HIV/AIDS.

Right to Change Identity
* Transgenders are entitled to change their first names, family names and paternal names after their gender have been reassigned resulting from surgeon intervention.
* However transgenders who have not been reassigned their gender yet are entitled to change only their first names.

Hate Crimes
* Criminal Code of Georgia considers hate crimes as an aggravated circumstances of a particular crime. The racial, religious and ethnic hatred are the motives which are punishable under criminal code of Georgia. Homophobia as a possible motive of particular crime has been excluded from the list of hate crimes.
* A criminal who kills a person because of the victim’s ethnic origin, should be punished from 13 to 17 years of incarceration, while the killing motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation should be punished only from 7 to 14 years of incarceration.

Hate Speech
* There is no criminalization of hate speech in Georgian Penal Code; however, it is regulated by the law on broadcasting. Under the Article 56.3, any television or radio station should avoid broadcasting programs that stir up hatred, discrimination or the offensive content to any person or group on the basis sexual orientation.
* The complaints on the alleged homophobic programs should be addressed by the internal review mechanism of the broadcasting company concerned.
* The courts as well as National Communication Commission are prohibited from considering complaints on alleged homophobic sentiments in media.

LGBT Situation in Armenia - “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book chapter

Ahead of the 2nd Regional Network Against Homophobia in Ankara, “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book with a separate chapter on Armenia has been published.

Below is LGBT Situation in Armenia chapter, via Kaos GL.

By Mamikon Hovsepyan
Pink Armenia, Armenia

Discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people begins with the family. Discrimination towards LGBTs by family members manifests itself through breaking off all contact, kicking them out of the house and disowning them.

Afterwards, discrimination continues in nearly all stages and facets of life: study and work, military service, healthcare and other services, media, entertainment, and so on. Cases of violating anonymity and confidentiality, which more often take place in establishments that provide healthcare services and psychological support, legal bodies or military, are not uncommon.

Intolerance towards LGBT people more so relies on unwritten norms, customs and social memory.

There are cases of rape and even death of LGBT people in Armenia. The majority of LGBTs say that they have never and will never go to the police or law enforcement bodies for protecting their rights, since they not only don’t resolve the issues at hand, but also become the cause for new issues to arise.

Nevertheless, it’s also important to note that the public and the state must take into account its citizens’ individual right to live freely and without violating other people’s rights. However, the more an individual’s external appearance or the way he carries himself reveals his sexual orientation or gender identity, the more serious the level of discrimination can become. Discrimination can manifest itself not only through articulating offensive statements, but also by carrying out physical, sexual and psychological violence.

There is a lack of trust towards professionals in different spheres. For example in healthcare, to overcome the situation, they avoid seeking professional help (a fear of not preserving anonymity and confidentiality). Some LGBT people, if not attempted then at least had thoughts of committing suicide.

On the topic of legal resolution, legislation and international documents that regulate or are connected to eliminating all forms of discrimination against LGBT people, encouraging public tolerance, and protecting LGBT rights were examined. Not only is the justice system that regulates the sector in which LGBT people’s rights should be protected in the Republic of Armenia not united, but also legislative definitions within the boundaries of understanding and the legislation connected to this sector, which would guarantee the possibility of protecting their rights, are actually absent from legislation.

Neo-Nazi movement in Armenia is spreading hate and intolerance toward LGBT people, distributing tracks and disseminating heinous messages to the citizens, which content seek to reject homosexuality. Those movements promote also hate crimes and they have never been banned by the Government or legal bodies.

Police attack gay and trans people in the streets, taking them to police stations. There are many cases when GT people were physically violated at police station or in the streets by policemen. Police also blackmails them and take money for not informing their relatives about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Gay, bisexual and trans men can be exempted from military service, though not all of them come out with their orientation and instead they go to the army. Violations towards GBT people in the army are committed by their peer and officers usually. There are cases of physical abuse, rape and psychological pressure, and those cases have never been reported by the Ministry of Defense.

In mass media, the cases of pedophilia between adult and underage men is considered as homosexuality, while pedophilia between adult man and underage girl in considered only pedophilia.

Mass media remains as a main hate promoter among society, usually comparing homosexuality with prostitution, sects, diseases, and bringing negative examples while talking about LGBT people.

Armenian Church is one of the homophobic institutions in Armenia. Usually they organize meetings and discussion in Grigor Lusavorich Church and often they use the opportunity to touch the topic of homosexuality, to blame LGBT people. There were cases when participants promoted hate crimes during the meeting and it was accepted by the organizer priests as a right action. During press conferences and interview, regardless of what the interview is about (religious minorities, prostitution, addictions), priests use the opportunity to touch the topic of homosexuality and blame LGBT people.

2nd Regional Network Against Homophobia in Ankara unites activists from South Caucasus, Balkans and Middle East

Turkish LGBT group Kaos GL hosted 2nd Regional Network Against Homophobia on 16-19 February in Ankara with the participation of organisations from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Lebanon, Serbia and Turkey.

First session, moderated by Mamikon Hovsepyan, head of PINK Armenia, welcomed new groups that joined the Network and discussed current developments and changes in participating countries.

There was also “Photography Presentation” by Nazik Armenakyan from Armenia.

Ahead of this meeting, the “Regional Network Against Homophobia” book has been published, with separate chapters on Armenia and Georgia. (see LGBT Situation in Armenia and Georgian Legislation on LGBT Issues)


Kaos GL reports:

Activists from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Lebanon, Serbia and Turkey came together to talk about forming news ways of network and using it as a powerful tool against hate and as a solidarity shelter in the regions. During the meetings, discussions on how and what kind of a network to create, motivations for the network, best practices from each country (such as shelters, legal victories and media…), challenges being faced, organizational needs and future cooperation took place.

Participants agreed that we reach information about each other via far channels and on different platforms; instead, we wish to reach each other in our own countries and in our local realities. The network will be established in a way it is used as a source of information about regional updates and as a pool of knowledge on local policies and developments.

The meeting was started with a welcoming forum for the new organizations and countries. Pro LGBT from Albania, Gender and Development from Azerbaijan and Helem from Lebanon took the floor to introduce their work and the most dominant agendas in the countries. Pro Albania underlined the importance of the current Anti-Discrimination Bill to be implemented. Helem expressed the “Morality Police” pressure on the community, Article 534 in Penal Code which prohibits having sexual relations that are "contradicting the laws of nature” and the BDS campaign they are endorsing. Gender and Development have expressed their stance on the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest by saying: “We do not want Europeans to come and organize a Pride event in our country. We have our own ways of working against homophobia and transphobia in our own local contexts.”

Organizations have shared their organizational needs for a number of work fields. A good number of organizations have expressed their need to reach the regional information from first hand. Other needs were to establish a lawyers network with a wealth of knowledge on local and international court results and establish a media network to promote human rights of LGBTs in the three regions.

One of the outstanding parts of the network meeting was “Existence of Lesbians and Bisexual Women: Looking at Patriachy and Feminism”. Biljana Stankovic from NLO Novi Sad Lesbian Organization and Andrea Gilbert from Athens Pride took the floor to speak on the issue from their own local realities. Stankovic, mainly speaking on women’s solidarity and the influence of wars on women and female sexuality, expressed: “We started as women in peace movements and as conscientious objectors. When Yugoslavia fell apart, there was hate speech spreading all over the Balkans. So we started writing solidarity and peace letters to each other in prisons, in shelters and as refugees.”

The Regional Network meetings will continue with sub-regional meetings in the three regions. The first sub-regional meeting will be hosted by Queer Zagreb in Croatia. The event not only aims to bring the network members together but also support the local activities being held in the hosting country during the time of the visit. The dates of the meeting in Croatia will be announced soon.

(picture - via Kaos GL)

Friday 16 March 2012

Penelope Cruz as you've never seen her before

Striking picture of Penelope Cruz on the cover of "The Misfit Issue" of Aïe magazine. (photograph by Peter Muller)

Sunday 11 March 2012

Slaq.am - homophobic ‘Internet TV’ trash from Armenia

Slaq.am is an ‘Internet TV’ project from Armenia established by people with direct ties to the ruling Republican party. With its tabloid style reporting, it gained notoriousness for generating ‘scandals’ upon alleged orders from the circles in Armenia’s ruling elite.

Head of Slaq.am and De Facto magazine (editor-in-chief) is Menua Harutyunyan (former head of the ArmNews TV channel), Republican party member hoping to become an MP. He caused an outcry recently by calling environmental protesters at Yerevan park “grant-takers” and supporting police actions against prominent opposition journalist.

It’s not the first time that they resort to routine homophobia but this latest programming is perhaps among the best illustrative of their tactics.

They set the tone with the introduction: “Psychologists consider homosexuality as a disease due to deviations occurred during the early childhood”. Needless to say, that this statement cannot stand any scientific criticism and an illustration of the level of ignorance and unprofessionalism in Slaq.am.
Հոգեբանների կարծիքով համասեռամոլությունը որակվում է որպես հիվանդություն, որը պայմանավորված է վաղ տարիքում տեղի ունեցած շեղումներով: Այս հիվանդությունը, սակայն, բուժել հնարավոր չէ, դրա համար նման մարդկանց պիտի ընդունել այնպիսին, ինչպիսին նրանք կան:
Եվրոպայում համասեռամոլությունն արդեն ընդունվում է որպես սովորական երևույթ, իսկ այսօր Եվրոմիության ազդեցությունը զգալիորեն տարածված է նույնիսկ կարծրատիպային մենտալիտետ ունեցող երկրների վրա: Slaq.am-ը հարցման միջոցով փորձեց պարզել՝ արդյոք Հայաստանը այդ երկրների ցանկին է պատկանում և ինչպե՞ս են վերաբերում համասեռամոլությանը մեր հայրենակիցները:
Then they video ‘survey’ people in the streets of Yerevan re their attitude towards gay people only to headline their video report with... “Homosexuals have no right to live?” [«Համասեռամոլներն ապրելու իրավունք չունե՞ն»]

Not to mention that throughout the report they use unacceptable discriminatory word “hamaseramol” ["համասեռամոլ"] to refer to gay people.

Since I am a nice person and to make their entry into the Armenia Homophobia Hall of Shame a bit less painful, I devote them this music video. I am sure they will enjoy and appreciate the message in full.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Public TV in Armenia and pop singers in PR disaster over Eurovision

Let me start from the very beginning of this story. A story that quickly turned into farce. Perhaps, one of the most spectacular yet tragic PR disasters of Armenia’s Public TV & co.

Group of initially unnamed Armenian pop singers issued a ‘statement’ on 23 February 2012, in which they urged country’s public broadcaster to boycott the Eurovision song contest in Baku. As a more immediate trigger for such decision, the ‘statement’ cited the news that “20-year-old solder Albert Adibekyan was shot by an Azerbaijani sniper on the Line of Contact between Azerbaijan and the disputed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

“Theatre of absurdist Eurovision related propaganda continues.” - this was my immediate reaction that was subsequently quoted by AFP.

It was instantly obvious that this "group of singer/songwriters" was used as a propaganda tool and as a pretense so that Armenia’s Public TV will have an excuse to announce their “no”. The wording of the ‘statement’ left little to imagination as to the real authors behind such ‘creation’. State propaganda machine.

Entertainment website bravo.am, immediately after the release of the 'statement', tried approaching those "well known and famous" (yet unnamed!) singers, only to discover that many of them had no idea about the “written statement”, and contrary to what was indicated in some outlets ('all previous Armenian Eurovision singers signed it in') at least Andre said that in fact he would like to perform in Baku. Basically, Armenian propaganda people prepared and distributed the 'statement' first, then started asking singers to sign in. Tragic and laughable at the same time.

In a further evidence that this spectacle was coordinated by Public TV, one of the signatories - singer Artur Ispiryan - admitted in an interview with Yerkir Media that it was them (Public TV) who called him asking whether he thinks Armenia should participate in Baku or not. He said he was not aware of the accompanying text.

Following eventual 'disclosure' of signatories, I was glad to notice that Sirusho (the most successful Armenian Eurovision entrant so far) and Dorians (the band I like and favor for this year’s Eurovision) were not among them. Ironically, none of the signatories were even considered for this year’s Eurovision.

Many on social networks, in particular Facebook, and media, condemned the move as unacceptable exploitation of soldier’s death for personal and political propaganda purposes, especially by those singers who tarnished their reputation during 2008 post-election bloodshed by keeping silent or siding with the authorities.
(AM) "Այո, անբարոյականություն է, երբ որ դու առիթ ես որոնում` «Եվրատեսիլ» չգնալդ հիմնավորելու համար եւ հանկարծ օգտագործում ես զինվորի մահը: Անբարոյական է էն «աստղը», որ զոհված զինվորի անունը չարաշահում է իր մոտակա անելիքները պլանավորելու համար, իսկ մարտի 1-ի զոհերի մասին ասում է՝ թող էնտեղ չլինեին, չսպանվեին:" (source)
And here is just one of the reasons why I respect Dorians:
Addressing the reason cited by the artists for refusing to perform in Baku (Adibekyan’s death), Dorians’ producer [Vahagn Gevorgyan] said:
“The saddest part is that the soldier’s death yesterday is tied up with Eurovision and more uproar was evoked than the deaths of other soldiers. Not now, but long ago we should’ve reflected on the cause of [these] deaths in the army, who is to blame that soldiers are being killed. Of course, they say, the Azeris, but I don’t think that we don’t have problems within our own army,” he said.
The situation evolved into spectacular yet tragic PR disaster when first ArmeniaNow, then other news outlets (with the confirmation by Ministry of Defense) admitted that the soldier whose death was exploited for propaganda purposes and as an excuse to withdraw from the Eurovision was in fact killed by his fellow Armenian serviceman [read: Mis-Information: Army says Azeri sniper killed soldier, but new information contradicts and confirmation by MoD in News.am and RFE/RL]
Conscript Albert Adibekyan, who died on February 23 in a military base near Chinar village, Tavush province, according to new information, was killed not by an Azeri sniper, as it was officially reported, but rather by an Armenian serviceman. [...]
Helsinki Association expert Ruben Martirosyan told ArmeniaNow that yesterday at the meeting with Yura Badalyan, head of the Central Apparatus at the Ministry of Defense Investigative Service, Badalyan told him that they “had managed to find out that the killer was not an Azeri sniper but was an Armenian [serviceman].”
“So there is a new way of calling the murders committed in border military bases - to hide the case, attributing the blame to a [Azeri] sniper, to gain dividends in front of the international community. Parents will be comforted believing that their child has died as a hero. But this will simply destroy our army,” Martirosyan says. 

During 2012, eight soldier deaths have been registered. Only two were from enemy fire.
Where are your voices now? Where is the statement condemning death of the Armenian soldier killed by his fellow serviceman? Where is the outrage of our super-patriotic singers? I can’t hear you.
P.S. There are quite a few genuine reasons that Armenia’s Public TV may have considered to withdraw from the competition, without resorting to above. Among them, I would like to highlight the underrated fact of virtual impossibility of Armenian fans (apart from being part of delegation or media) to travel to Azerbaijan capital Baku for Eurovision. I genuinely believe that Eurovision should not be held in a country where there are obstacles for participating fans. Because Eurovision is not only about songs, singers and country delegations. It's equally or more so about fans too. I will not even go into the issue of widespread and systematic human rights abuses in Azerbaijan (see the very latest example highlighted by the Human Rights Watch). And as if Armenian Public TV / pop stars‘ ridiculousness was not enough, now Azerbaijan’s Eurovision winner Nigar Camal resorted to propaganda language stirring anti-Armenian hysteria by exploiting the anniversary of tragic events during Karabakh war on Twitter. This is not the language that supposedly welcoming host should have used.

“Official” Eurovision-related decision by Armenia’s Public TV [participate - Yes/No; if Yes - the entry] will be announced by 18 March 2012.

Saturday 3 March 2012

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

Now that this shameful and scandalous anti-gay law has been adopted in its third reading in St Petersburg and awaiting a formality of governor's approval, this editorial by popular Russian news outlet Gazeta.ru is an absolute MUST READ: "Traditional orientation" (RU).

I am re-posting it below in full.

For more relevant postings, see:

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

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

29 February 2012

Традиционная ориентация

Закон о запрете пропаганды гомосексуализма среди несовершеннолетних может стать еще одной дубиной для борьбы с инакомыслием

Российское государство ориентировано на запрет как на лучший, а часто единственный способ решения всех проблем. Но такая традиция только раскалывает общество и увеличивает его агрессивность.

Законодательное собрание Санкт-Петербурга в третьем чтении одобрило скандальные поправки в местный закон об административных правонарушениях, направленные «против пропаганды гомосексуализма и педофилии среди несовершеннолетних». Впервые со времен отмены существовавшей в советском Уголовном кодексе статьи за мужеложство (по ней были осуждены многие неугодные советской власти люди, в частности, замечательный режиссер и художник Сергей Параджанов) пока в отдельно взятом регионе государство пытается законодательно регулировать сексуальную жизнь граждан. То есть прямо вмешиваться в их частную жизнь без объективных на то оснований. При этом формулировки закона крайне расплывчаты и допускают расширительное толкование. И то, что в одном законе смешивается гомосексуализм и преследуемая уголовным законом педофилия, делает питерский законодательный опус еще более невнятным.

Этот запрет, учитывая роль Петербурга в политической жизни страны и раскладе сил во власти, может расцениваться как пробный шар перед возможным принятием аналогичного закона на федеральном уровне.

Но, даже если до федерального закона дело не дойдет, мы имеем дело с классической для России попыткой решить простым запретом крайне сложную проблему. Никакая сексуальная ориентация человека, что признано медициной и принято как базовая норма общественной морали в цивилизованном мире, не является болезнью или отклонением.

Конечно, главные традиционные религии России — православие и ислам — изначально резко отрицательно относятся к гомосексуализму. Но Россия светское государство и не может опираться в светских законах на религиозные доктрины и нормы. Кроме того, сексуальные отношения вообще глубоко интимная сфера, и государство такими запретами прямо вмешивается в частную жизнь людей.

Наконец, есть конкретные уголовные статьи, предусматривающие наказание за сексуальные преступления против несовершеннолетних независимо от сексуальной ориентации правонарушителя. И этого вполне достаточно, чтобы бороться с подобными преступлениями.
Напротив, юридический запрет «пропаганды» так называемых нетрадиционных сексуальных практик больше похож на характерные для нашего государства попытки запрещать инакомыслие.

Разумеется, пока в России нет никаких политических шансов требовать официальной регистрации однополых браков или, как это уже юридически разрешено в некоторых штатах США и ряде европейских стран, права однополым семьям усыновлять детей. Но пытаться регулировать законом, да еще запретительным, написанным с позиции определенных представлений о нравственности, то, что в принципе не регулируется таким образом, что имеет отношение к человеческой природе, просто дико. Фактически определенная сексуальная ориентация людей изначально объявляется преступной.

Более того, закон ставит в тяжелое положение именно тех, кого вроде хочет защитить, — детей. Ребенок, живущий в однополой семье, автоматически переходит на «нелегальное» положение. Ни его родители, ни его учителя, ни сам ребенок не могут даже затрагивать эту тему в разговоре с другими детьми, не рискуя попасть под действие закона. Толерантность к другим, не похожим на тебя цветом волос, языком, религией, образом жизни людям, взывать к которой так любят у нас в официальных речах, заканчивается там, где начинается питерский закон.

Еще большие сомнения он вызывает не только своим «концептуальным» варварством, но и правоприменительной практикой. В России любой закон, содержащий запретительные меры, обычно не выполняется, а «перевыполняется».
И закон о запрете пропаганды гомосексуализма среди несовершеннолетних может стать еще одной дубиной для борьбы с инакомыслием, особенно учитывая, что ЛГБТ-сообщество традиционно граждански активно и критически настроено по отношению к власти (в основном потому, что, по сути, загнано на нелегальное положение исторически культивируемой властью гомофобией).

И блестящий пример того, как этот закон может быть применен на практике, немедленно предложил его автор, депутат Виталий Милонов. Он заявил о намерении обратиться к прокурору Петербурга с требованием привлечь к ответственности группу Rammstein, как только проект будет подписан губернатором.

Нет сомнений, что петербургский закон окажется популярным и в самом городе, и среди россиян в целом. Но государство не должно поощрять законами низменные инстинкты консервативной толпы: в этом смысле агрессивная гомофобия куда более опасна, в том числе и для несовершеннолетних, чем так называемая пропаганда гомосексуализма.

(Football) kiss of the day

Don't you just like these French football players?! ;))

*via Têtu

In 2011, more than 200 LGBT people used services provided by PINK Armenia. Big problem - unreported hate crimes

In an interview with News.am (AM), Marine Margaryan, Project Coordinator at PINK Armenia, sums up the main headlines of their annual report on LGBT situation in Armenia (full report in English - here).

According to Marine, in 2011 more than 200 LGBT people, mainly men, used services provided by PINK Armenia, including legal advice in case of violence and hate crimes.

As an example of unreported hate crimes in Armenia, Marine mentioned recent case of physical and psychological abuse at one of Yerevan bars, when a customer recognised and approached one gay guy there, then spit next to him and broke his nose. However, fearing disclosure and interrogation, the victim of hate crime refused to report the case to the police.
«Փինք Արմենիա» ՀԿ-ի ծրագրի համակարգող Մարինե Մարգարյանը, բերելով բռնության դեպքերից մեկի օրինակը, նշեց, որ վերջերս, երբ գեյ տղան բարում է եղել, հաճախորդներից մեկը, ով իմացել է, որ նա գեյ է, մոտեցել է նրան, կողքը թքել ու հարվածելով կոտրել քիթը: Գեյ երիտասարդը ելնելով նրանից, որ ոստիկանությունում այդ ամենը պետք է բացատրեր եւ մանրամասն նկարագրեր, չի դիմել ոստիկանություն:

Հարցին, թե ավելի շատ տղամարդի՞կ, թե՞ կանայք են բռնության ենթարկվում, Մարինե Մարգարյանը պատասխանեց. «Մեզ ավելի շատ դիմում են տղամարդիկ բռնության դեպքերով: Այսպես ասեմ. մեզ դիմում են տարբեր հարցերով, թե սեռական առողջության հիմնախնդիրներով, թե պահպանակներ ստանալու, թե իրավաբանական խորհրդատվություն ստանալու համար: Իսկ առհասարակ դիմումների թիվը ինչպես նշեցի մոտավորապես 200-ից ավելի է 2011թ-ի ընթացքում»: