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In February, a trans woman was beaten and set on fire in her own apartment.In May, while in Armenia on a humanitarian mission, Elton John was subjected to homophobic slurs and hurled with eggs.In this case, save for a few activists, LGBT Armenians have few people who are willing to speak out on their behalf.I would implore Nikol Pashinyan to take action against systematic homophobia in Armenia and send a message that we are all equal, whether native-born or diasporan, straight and cisgender or LGBT, living in Armenia or abroad, rich or poor, connected or otherwise.My trip was a life-altering experience, seeing , its raw beauty including the warm and hospitable people and re-connect with my roots.
Following May’s Velvet Revolution, the world was awed to witness how a nation practiced non-violent resistance against an oppressive regime and demand change.Our people have been massacred, slaughtered and prosecuted for centuries in the hands of our enemies, so why are we doing it to ourselves now? Pashinyan has bigger priorities to tackle before combating homophobia, including national security, corruption, economy, unemployment, under-employment and immigration.Queer Armenians are confidently looking forward to his upcoming State of the Nation address and roll-out of his agenda, but unfortunately, their optimism is not extended to the LGBT community.Make no mistake: the only difference between Armenia and the Western world is that its queer community is, for the most part, still in the closet, due to institutionalized and widespread homophobia.There have been several high-profile gay-bashings and assaults in Armenia recently.
In fact, it was heartbreaking to witness the despair among queer Armenians for their living situation and general role in society.