PINK Armenia Newsletter [14]
October, 2015
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The first LGBT forum in Armenia: #RainbowArmenia

The first Armenian LGBT forum, titled Rainbow Forum, organized by PINK Armenia, took place in Lori region on October 17-18.
The aim of the forum was to build LGBT movement in Armenia, to discuss problems of LGBT people and together develop a strategy and steps to fight against homophobia in Armenia.
Building the LGBT movement in Armenia was the topic most discussed during the forum, and participants expressed their ideas and willingness to support the development of the movement.
Many of participants expressed their feeling that the forum gave them hope for the Armenian LGBT movement, especially they liked the fact that new people are joining the movement and that many of them are ready to come out publicly. Around 40 people from LGBT community and from supporters of LGBT people took part in the event from.
Since the article was posted those who have appeared in the photo have faced attacks on social media from homophobes. This is not the first incident of such threats. Previously in May 2015 after posting a similar photo of LGBT community members and allies holding a rainbow flag on Northern Avenue faced homophobic threats of violence. Despite requesting additional security from the police, the police largely ignored these requests but we will try again.

Forum Participants under attack

After the LGBT Forum generated a hate storm in online and social media. On October 21, one of the forum participants was followed by and threatened when she took off from a minibus. She has been long stared at in the minibus as she had an LGBT flag sticker on her phone, which, presumably was seen by this man. After she took off from the minibus, she was followed by the man, who grabbed her hand and told her all the "viruses like her should be burnt". "We'll find you all and destroy all of you one by one" the man yelled when the girl screamed and ran away.

Round table-discussion on LGBT related issues in Armenia

On October 16, 2015 a round table-discussion was conducted by PINK’s partner organization, New Generation NGO, in the topic of “LGBT issues in Armenia and suggestion for their solution”. The discussion aimed at raising the awareness on LGBT issues and supporting the development of mechanisms for their protection and integration into society.
One of the speakers, Mamikon Hovsepyan, the executive director of PINK Armenia, talked about internalized homophobia, the importance of coming out, which would neutralize the possibility of blackmailing LGBT individuals. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of coming out of organizations working for LGBT organizations.
Other speakers discussed the crucial expressions of discrimination towards LGBT people, violations of rights in a number of spheres, such as healthcare, closed institutions and religion.
The speakers and participants of the round-table discussion were members of local NGOs.

Coming Out Monologues at PINK

National Coming Out Day, an internationally-observed day for the LGBT community was celebrated on the eve of October 11 by members of the LGBT community and those who stand in solidarity with them at PINK.
More than 40 LGBT people and allies gathered to share their stories of coming out to their families and friends and to listen to the experiences of others. Their experiences ranged from surprisingly great and lifting the spirit to miserable and depressing. Coming out is never easy and we can often draw inspiration from others and their stories, stories can be a motivation to others in similar situations. “Coming out will help you escape the burden of fear, burden of stress and depression, however considering the appropriate timing, determining whether this is the right time is so important” mentioned some who shared their stories.
Beyond everything, the day is worth celebrating, so the day was concluded with the sounds of live saxophone and guitar by and for the community to enjoy.
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