April 26, 2016

PINK Armenia Joins the Community, Rights, Gender (CRG) Working Group

Adjacent to the Country Coordination Mechanism for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (CCM) of the Republic of Armenia, a new working group has been formed—“Community, Rights, Gender” (CRG). PINK Armenia was invited to be a part of the working group.

The group aims to ensure community involvement in decision-making processes and to ensure the inclusion of human rights protection and gender equality within CCM. One of its main objectives is the monitoring and analysis of human rights violation cases among people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and people living with certain infections, as well as ensuring the accessibility of medical assistance within the spheres of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

April 25, 2016

Lips of Pride

HAYP Pop Up Gallery, a moving art collective that curates and sets up art exhibitions across Armenia, dedicated its most recent gallery, “Lips of Pride,” to women artists, women’s bodies and sexualities, and societal perceptions of shame in Armenia, from April 8-18, 2015. “Lips of Pride” aimed to begin a conversation on a taboo topic, and to give a voice to those who are often silenced by shame.

For 10 days the gallery hosted several events that facilitated that conversation, including a panel discussion on “Shame & Sexuality” with Ani Jilozyan from Women's Support Center, sexologist Dr. Narine Nersisyan, and PINK Armenia psychologist Lilit Avetisyan, who talked about how speech affects our perspectives on sexuality, the role that shame plays in our lives and the affects of shame on LGBT people. Lilit’s final message for participants of the discussion was that we should never be ashamed of our sexualities, which is an indivisible part of who we are. PINK’s engagement in the exhibit events continued with the workshop “Understanding Human Sexuality,” which covered personal experiences and a general understanding of the different dimensions of sexuality.

March 20, 2016

PINK Armenia and staff members continue receiving threats

PINK continues documenting the hate speech and messages calling for hate to PINK’s president Nvard Margaryan, NGO members, and to the PINK Armenia Facebook page. The frequency of such messages has increased especially after Nvard Margaryan’s participation in a TV show, “Kisabac Lusamutner (Half-open Windows)”, where a psychologist announced that she cures homosexuality and a lawyer threatened to burn gay people. Although a complaint was submitted to the Ethics Committee of the Chamber of Advocates in Armenia, and the Chamber of Advocates applied a disciplinary proceeding against the lawyer, in the letter The Chamber of Advocates mentioned how the natural family can only be a union between a man and a women according Armenia’s “amended” Constitution. PINK is now documenting all the messages containing hate speech, as all the previous complaints to the General Prosecutor’s Office on hate speech messages and comments were largely ignored or found not to have a basis for criminal proceedings.

March 19, 2016

Administrative Hearing of a Medical Center for Improper Treatment of a Transgender Person

PINK filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health about the conduct of the medical professionals, after a victim of hate crime in Yerevan (LGBT Activists Targeted in Hate Crime, then Mocked by Hospital Staff) admitted themselves to the N1 hospital in Yerevan, and faced discrimination, being told by medical professionals, “Come, let’s do a blood test on you. Let’s see if you have a deviance”.

An administrative proceeding has been filed with the health inspection department of the Ministry of Health against irreverent treatment and improper medical service provided by the personnel of the “First medical center ‘Heratsi’”. The personnel of the medical center conducted themselves unprofessionally and treated the patient seeking treatment with disrespect, which was related to the appearance and gender identity of the victim. During the administrative hearing, the representatives of the health inspection department rejected the fact that the personnel of medical center had behaved inappropriately, clarifying that the definition of irreverent and improper treatment is not determined by sub legislative acts. They justified the behavior of the medical personnel, saying that the blood analysis is obligatory for everyone who has been beaten.

The personnel of the medical center declared that they have watched the video of security cameras and that there was no such treatment on the part of the medical center’s personnel. But after a motion to examine the video during the hearing and to attach it to the case materials, they answered that the video had been self-deleted.

On March 25 Ministry of Health informed that the case is suspended due to the absence of violation.

March 18, 2016

“Women are different”: Celebration of LGBT-inclusive diversity as Armenia’s Feminist Platform marks International Women’s Day in Yerevan

“Women are different” was the main slogan Armenia’s Feminist Platform group chose to mark International Women’s Day on March 8. Everyone was invited to join a planned march on that day, regardless of age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, whether they were locals or foreigners, or from villages or cities, all to “celebrate different ways of being a woman”.

Posters during march read: “women are different”, “lesbian”, “bisexual”, “transgender”, “scientist”, “virgin”, “sex worker”, “woman living with HIV”, “cleaner”, “entrepreneur”, “mother”, “single mother”, “model”, “soldier”, “not married”, “footballer / weightlifter”, “woman with disability” and more. Most passersbys reacted positively to the march and showed interest in what they heard and read. Some people, however, mostly young males, were visibly aggravated by the march and even stopped to inform the marchers that such public actions “are shameful and ugly phenomena.”

Read a more detailed article on the march by Unzipped: Gay Armenia.