Wednesday 25 March 2015

EU sees "limited" human rights progress in Armenia and calls authorities to adopt LGBT inclusive anti-discrimination legislation

In an annual report to assess the implementation of whatever remained from the European Neighbourhood Policy in Armenia, EU noted "no tangible developments in the implementation and enforcement of legislation on human rights and fundamental freedoms", and overall "limited progress on deep and sustainable democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms".

Among its recommendations, EU calls Armenia authorities to adopt and implement a "comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation":
  • adopting and implementing a comprehensive anti-discrimination law; implementing and monitoring implementation of the law on equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men, including taking further steps towards harmonising legislation in this area with the EU acquis; adopting the law on domestic violence
EU report states: "Armenia still does not have a comprehensive legal framework against discrimination. The human rights action plan only suggested assessing the compatibility of relevant Armenian legislation with international law and weighing the merits of adopting an anti-discrimination law. No measures were put in place to protect the rights of LGBTI people, while discrimination and hostility continued to be a major problem. There was also widespread discrimination against people with disabilities with regard to their economic, social and cultural rights. People with disabilities were also socially segregated in all areas." [emphasis mine]

Full report is available here.

Sunday 22 March 2015

The Irrepressibles gig in London: full of emotions, strength and vulnerability

I am a big fan of The Irrepressibles, and was super excited to finally see them performing live in London. It was their first London gig (Islington, Assembly Hall, Fri 20 March 2015) of the NUDE.

I had pretty high expectations, and this was one of the instances when my high expectations were fully met.

The vocals, emotions, combination of strength and vulnerability, their performance was emotionally draining and very honest.

And yes, Jamie, the lead singer, was pretty sexy with the beard. I loved his new image. There were frequent shouts "You are so sexy", "I love you" from the  audience.

If you ever have a chance to see The Irrepressibles live, do it, it's a must.

And below is a pic of the opening support act by Ebe Oke, and of the stage before the show.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Rainbow Istanbul, with Armenian touch

Istanbul is such a contradictory city. Being part of Turkey where homophobia, hate crime and other (not only LGBT-related) human rights violations are widespread, while having openly rainbow signs, not to mention the annual gay pride march. Interlinked signs of modernity and conservatism, all in one place, a step away from each other.

When in Istanbul last June to participate in a gay pride march and to meet friends, I started noticing rainbow flags and rainbow signs in various parts of the city, and decided to make pictures of them whenever I notice.

These pics are made in the streets of Istanbul, when passing by stores, shops, bars, visiting art galleries or using metro, in mainly unexpected places.

One of the interesting  - but expected, as I learned about it before traveling to Istanbul - art related rainbow displays came in a form of “Rainbow” installation at the Istanbul Modern by Turkish-Armenian artist Sarkis Zabunyan, better known as Sarkis. While not directly LGBT-linked, I view it as part of the overall experience.
[…] the installation “Rainbow” was produced in neon and measures 7.5 meters in height and 15 meters in width. Showing a rainbow in the process of forming, the installation “Rainbow” will illuminate art and museum visitors for 365 days. “Rainbow” reminds us of the states of becoming of art as a never-ending field of thought and action. It symbolizes the endless rhythm, excitement, and joys of life. 
Sarkis defines his installation as a “rainbow gaining momentum toward the Big Bang” and adds: “Rainbow should be regarded as a miracle. Art is always about new beginnings; there are references, but in the process of creating, all of these references disappear, giving way to fresh ideas.”

Sunday 1 March 2015

House of Cards, season 3 explosive storyline against Russia’s anti-gay law

As a a big fan of Netflix’s House of Cards, I could not wait till season 3 is finally on. And when it was finally on, I was so excited, it took me a while till I was able to calm down and actually start watching. And then… I could not stop watching till the very last episode is over. [and yes, now I am in a state of withdrawal, and there is a long wait ahead till season 4]

I am not going to give away any plot details or review the season, you can watch it at your own pace and make up your mind. For the purposes of this brief blog post, I only want to mention that starring in the season 3 is Putin himself, well, his prototype named ‘Petrov’.

Episode 3 is quite something when you see Putin/Petrov’s first appearance, with some other prominent guest stars. It was an entertaining episode, but not powerful.

It’s not until the episode 6 when the storyline became pretty explosive with a powerful statement against Russia’s anti-gay law and against hypocrisy in politics, in general.

Big respects to Netflix and the whole team behind the House of Cards for speaking up.

A must watch.