December 25, 2012

The 5th anniversary and the new era

On December the 21st we celebrated our 5th anniversary which headline was “The beginning of new era”. Achievements and success of the organization during five years are not only the result of the efforts of the staff and volunteers, but also our partners and supporters have their unique place in it.

In five years inserting our roots in the basis of democracy-building, we have concluded a period in the history of civil society, and now we are entering a new era and begin it with a new breath.

We celebrated our 5th anniversary, but the founders of the organizations have been involved in civic activism for 10 years.

2007 became the year when founders decided to create an organization which was supposed to go through a difficult way, and a work should have been done, that had not been implemented in this scope yet. Due to our efforts on December 14, 2007 we received registration certificate and understood, that there is no way back, PINK should have its big input for development of civil society and establishment of democracy.

The path of the organization during its 5 years of activities hasn’t always been smooth. Many challenges that we faced during these years constantly brought with them new questions and concerns. But the answer is obvious: “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”, – as Friedrich Nietzsche would say.

Happy New Year dear friends, may this year bring you luck and great achievements, and feel you hearts with warmth, peace and joy!

September 24, 2012

A bridge between East and West, between old and new era of Armenian history

Mamikon Hovsepyan's gratitude to Hrant Dink Foundation:

“Hrant Dink Foundation’s work is very important for Armenians in Armenia and in diaspora. It builds a bridge between East and West, between old and new era of Armenian history. The Foundation is very supportive and encourages our work in Armenia. They inspire all Armenians with their work, and this year they including PINK Armenia among their Inspirations in 2012 which was very exciting for us. 

I read the email that I received from thee Foundation on September 14, the day when I was celebrating my 30th birthday. That was the best news that I could receive on that day.

My colleagues and I want to thank Hrant Dink Foundation for being with us, for supporting our work and inspiring us.”

August 28, 2012

Homophobia and punitive laws continue to threaten HIV responses and human rights

UNAIDS Infographic: I am Gay - 5 things I fear.
In many regions of the world, punitive laws and practices against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI)[1] individuals continue to block effective responses to HIV. A range of human rights violations have been documented, from denial of health services and freedom of association to harassment, violence and murder.

Last week, a youth organization in Cameroon is reported to have held an anti-LGBT rally; the news followed a series of arrests and detentions in recent years of Cameroonian men who have sex with men based on their sexual orientation.

In Zimbabwe, where sex between men is illegal, police officers arrested and later released 44 members of the organization Gays and Lesbians Zimbabwe (GALZ) on 11 August 2012 following the launch of a GALZ report documenting human rights violations of LGBT individuals.

In Europe, a report on the human rights situation of LGBTI people—published in May 2012 by the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)—documented many cases of violence, hatred and discrimination against LGBTI people.

Studies in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia have documented high levels of homophobic bullying in schools and lack of support from school authorities. A recent study conducted in the United States, for example, found that more than 84% of young LGBT learners had been called names or threatened, 40% had been pushed or shoved, and 18% had been physically assaulted at school.

Several cities in the Russian Federation recently passed laws prohibiting public information on sexual orientation and gender identity. Similar legislation is pending before the Ukrainian parliament. UNAIDS believes such laws discriminate against LGBT people by curtailing their freedoms of assembly and speech, threaten HIV outreach organizations supporting them, and may be used to justify homophobic bullying and violence.

A "climate of hate and fear"

Evidence and experience have shown that punitive laws and practices drive sexual minorities away from HIV services. A study conducted in Senegal, for example, found that prosecutions and harassment of LGBT individuals in 2008 led to “pervasive fear and hiding” among members of these groups. According to the study, some health providers suspended their HIV prevention work with men who have sex with men out of fear for their own safety; those who continued to provide health services noted a sharp decline in participation by men who have sex with men.

"Human rights violations based on people's real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression sanction the climate of hate and fear that keeps LGBTI people further in the closets,” said human rights advocate Joel Nana, Executive Director of the non-profit organization African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR). “Such violations discourage health-seeking behaviour, deny access to key health services and sustain the increasing incidence of HIV infection among men who have sex with men and transgender people," he added.

High HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men, transgender people

In many regions of the world, men who have sex with men and transgender people experience high HIV prevalence and low coverage of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

Recent studies from sub-Saharan Africa show that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men ranges from 6% to 31%. In Asia, the odds of men who have sex with men becoming infected with HIV are nearly 19 times higher than in the general population. In Latin America, an estimated half of all HIV infections in the region have resulted from unprotected sex between men.

Studies among transgender people have shown disproportionately high HIV prevalence ranging from 8% to 68%. Without access to HIV information and services free of fear, criminal sanction and homophobia, these trends cannot be addressed.

“World leaders are increasingly speaking out against discrimination and criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Susan Timberlake, Chief of the Human Rights and Law Division at the UNAIDS Secretariat. “In launching its report in July, for example, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law issued a strong call for decriminalization of LGBT people and their protection in the context of the AIDS response.”

Some positive developments

Despite setbacks, there are some encouraging developments in favour of equality, non-discrimination and access to health services for sexual minorities.

On 12 July 2012, the President of Chile signed into law an anti-discrimination law that punishes hate crimes, including against LGBT people. Introduced some seven years ago, the adoption of the anti-discrimination law gained momentum following the brutal murder of Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old homosexual man.

On the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, 17 May 2012, the European Region of Education International, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and ILGA-Europe committed to strengthen their collaboration to prevent and combat homophobia and transphobia at national and European levels in school, the workplace and society.

In February 2010, the Government of Fiji became the first Pacific Island nation to formally decriminalize sex between men. Fiji’s new Crimes Decree removes previous references to “sodomy” and “unnatural acts” and uses gender neutral language when referring to sexual offences.

In 2009, the High Court of Delhi held that criminalization of same-sex relations is unconstitutional and that it “pushes gays and men who have sex with men underground,” leaving them vulnerable to police harassment and impeding access to HIV services.

UN advocacy and action

In March 2012, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against LGBT individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The report called on all countries to decriminalize consensual same-sex relations and to ensure that individuals can exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in safety and without discrimination.

At last year’s UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS, UN Member States committed to reviewing laws and policies that adversely affect the “successful, effective and equitable delivery of HIV services.” UNAIDS encourages all countries to translate this commitment into action to protect the human rights and health needs of LGBT people

source: UNAIDS
[1] The acronym “LGBTI” is used as an umbrella short-hand for groups and/or individuals whose sexual orientation or gender identity differ from heterosexuality and who may be subject to discrimination, violence and other human rights violations on that basis. Information and data presented in this article may not apply equally to all the groups represented by this acronym.

July 20, 2012

Armenia answers to the Committee, avoids subject of LGBT

Geneva 17 July 2012.  The United Nations Human Rights Committee finalized the examination of the third periodic report of Armenia today, which took place on 16 and 17 July 2012.

In some areas of the dialogue between the Committee and the State delegation, the discussionwas progressive. In others, the Committee expressed concern about the lack of information provided by the State. The delegation was often pressed by the Committee for more specific, statistically based answers to some of its questions. When faced with inquiries regarding the March 2008 post-election violence in Armenia, the delegation offered little explanation as to the lack of investigation into, and criminal accountability for, the resulting deaths.

The Committee otherwise focused its attention on issues of gender-based violence, trafficking in human beings, prison conditions, corruption in the judiciary, and discrimination. One committee member challenged the State to “put its money where its mouth is, and provide necessary funding to combat gender-based violence”. The Committee took particular issue with the State’s attitude toward members of Armenia’s LGBT community. The Committee received information that a government official previously announced that LGBT individuals were “a threat to national security.” Explanations from the State regarding the measures currently undertaken to protect the human rights of these vulnerable individuals were noticeably sparse.

Having received information from independent sources regarding the objectivity of Armenia’s judiciary, the Committee confronted the delegation with allegations that the judiciary is dependent on the executive branch, and that judges tend to have a bias toward the prosecution. The Committee was deeply concerned about reports from NGOs stating that judges operate under the notion that justice is negotiable, and can be bought for the right price.

The Committee also reminded the delegation that it has been a party to the Optional Protocol for Individual Communications for twenty years. In that time, there has not been a single casesubmitted to the Committee by an individual victim of human rights violations. As such, the Committee questioned whether the State has actually made it known to the Armenian people that this important recourse is available to them.

Armenia was given forty-eight hours to address unanswered questions posed by the Committee –indicating that, after six hours of intensive dialogue, the Committee felt it needed more information from the State. Armenia must be forthcoming about the true state human rights in the country, and ensure the enactment and implementation of its pending human rights legislation and programming. These active measures are critical to demonstrating the State’scommitment to protecting the human rights of all Armenian people.

The Human Rights Committee will make its recommendations public at the end of its session, on 27 July 2012. The archived webcast of Armenia’s review can be seen at additional information on the review of the Armenia contact: Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR): / for Civil and Political Rights/Ashley Tucker)

July 19, 2012

19th International AIDS Conference

This year International AIDS Conference will take place in Washington D.C, US on July 22-27, 2012.

The International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.

The AIDS 2012 programme will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV. A variety of session types – from abstract-driven presentations to symposia, bridging and plenary sessions – will meet the needs of various participants. Other related activities, including the Global Village, satellite meetings, exhibitions and affiliated independent events, will contribute to an exceptional opportunity for professional development and networking.

For more information go to

July 17, 2012

FDA approves first drug to prevent HIV infection

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco in May. Even before the Food and Drug Administration's approval, Sterman had prescribed Truvada for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS. Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP
The Food and Drug Administration has given the first OK for a drug to prevent HIV infection.
The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk.
The drug was approved for people who test negative for HIV infection. It's supposed to be used in combination with safe-sex practices, such as using a condom, to reduce infection risk. "Truvada alone shouldn't be used to prevent HIV infection," FDA's Dr. Debra Birnkrant, said in a media briefing.
People taking Truvada should be tested for HIV infection every three months, so treatment can begin promptly if an infection has occurred.
An outside panel of experts had recommend the agency take the action after concluding that the benefits to healthy people vulnerable to HIV infection outweigh the risks, including such side effects as kidney damage and a dangerous increase in acid in the blood.
About 50,000 people in the U.S. become infected with HIV each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of new infections are in gay or bisexual men.
Birnkrant said the steady rate of new infections showed that more options are needed to reduce transmission of the virus. "Truvada for pre-exposure prevention represents another effective evidence-based approach," she said.
But the cost for prevention isn't trivial. The annual tab for Truvada ranges from about $11,000 to $14,000.
In an interview with Talk of Nation's Neal Conan in May, the National Institute of Health's Anthony Fauci, said of Truvada, that it's "an important component of the broad tool kits that we do have for prevention."
He acknowledged the risks, such as side effects, and the possibility that some people taking the drug might engage in riskier behavior because they think they're protected.
In response to a question about that from NPR's Richard Knox today, FDA's Birnkrant said studies of Truvada for prevention found an increase in condom use over time — not a drop. (Listen to Knox's story on Monday's All Things Considered for more.)
During the Fauci interview conducted shortly after the expert panel recommended FDA approval of Truvada for prevention, he said, "I agree with the advisory committee strongly that when you balance the benefits of this, making this available, to the risks, ... the benefits far outweigh the risks, although you must take seriously the potential downsides of it and be prudent in your use of this."
source: NPR

May 29, 2012

Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society of Los Angeles condemns recent hate crime in Armenia

The Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (GALAS), based in Los Angeles, California, is shocked and disturbed by recent acts of hate targeting the gay and lesbian community of Armenia. On May 8, 2012, Molotov cocktails were used to fire-bomb DIY, a gay-friendly bar in the heart of Yerevan, Armenia. This violent act was captured on a nearby security camera, which shows several men vandalizing the building and throwing incendiary devices through the windows. Following this unfortunate event, a stream of acrimonious attacks occurred against the gay and lesbian community of Armenia on social media, namely Facebook and YouTube.

The Board of Directors and the membership of GALAS strongly condemn these hateful attacks, clear examples of discrimination, and oppression based solely on a person’s sexual orientation.

The response by members of The Armenian Parliament has been equally atrocious. Artsvik Minasyan, who represents the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), posted bail for one of the suspects who were charged with the fire-bombing. Afterwards, Minasyan said to Panorama news agency that the suspects “…acted the right way, in context of our societal and national ideals.” We reject his actions and call upon the Armenian Parliament and Dashnaktsutyun to reprimand Minasyan and condemn his actions. Furthermore, we seek his immediate resignation or removal from office for his incitement of homophobia, and his endorsement of hate crimes. We further request a statement from the Armenian Parliament and the Dashnaktsutyun stating that neither organization will stand by those who foster hate and intolerance. Let not those who have faced the reality of intolerance and hatred inflict it upon others, no matter what the “context of our societal and national ideals.”

For the same reasons, GALAS is calling for the immediate resignation or dismissal of Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesperson for Armenia’s ruling Republican Party and Parliament Vice Speaker who told Hayots Ashkharh newspaper that, “As an Armenian citizen and member of [the ruling] national-conservative party, I find the rebellion of the two young Armenian people against the homosexuals … completely right and justified…”

GALAS denounces these reprehensible statements made by officials that fuel discrimination and unjustified crimes against innocent people. Citizens must hold their elected officials accountable for their irresponsible rhetoric that creates hatred and fear, and leads to disastrous consequences.

GALAS stands united with its gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, and all who care for justice and a free society, one that is a model of tolerance and mutual respect of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

The Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society of Los Angeles is a federally recognized 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. Comprised of members of the Armenian community, its mission is to foster acceptance and promote equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Armenians.

May 19, 2012

"Virulent" homophobic attacks put South Caucasus activists at risk

Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan must do more to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, Amnesty International said after a spate of attacks on activists.

Instead of condemning a firebomb attack on a gay-friendly bar in downtown Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, last week, some public officials went on the record making homophobic remarks and condoning violence against LGBTI people.

Meanwhile, on Thursday in neighbouring Georgia, police in the capital Tbilisi did little to prevent an Orthodox Christian group from obstructing a peaceful march by an LGBTI organization to mark the International Day against Homophobia.

“The virulent nature of these recent attacks shows the need for a public dialogue to tackle homophobia throughout the South Caucasus to protect LGBTI people from discrimination,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

Yerevan firebomb

On 8 May, self-described “fascists” were caught on tape by a security camera as they threw Molotov cocktails through the windows of a gay-friendly bar in downtown Yerevan.

Police reportedly arrived at the scene 12 hours later to investigate the arson attack.

Two young men were arrested as part of the investigation, but were bailed shortly afterwards by two opposition parliamentarians from the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun party (ARF), who condoned the attack, saying it was in line with "the context of societal and national ideology”.

ARF leaders have distanced themselves from the bailout, saying that the parliamentarians acted in their personal capacity, but they have fallen short of publicly calling on their colleagues to apologize for supporting the alleged hate crime.

Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesperson for Armenia’s ruling Republican Party and Parliament Vice Speaker told Hayots Ashkharh newspaper Thursday that, “As an Armenian citizen and member of [the ruling] national-conservative party, I find the rebellion of the two young Armenian people against the homosexuals … completely right and justified…Those human rights defenders, who are trying to earn cheap dividends from this incident, I urge them first and foremost to protect the national and universal values.”

Amnesty International believes this type of official discourse is dangerous, fuels discrimination and undermines the role of human rights defenders.

“The official response to the firebombing in Yerevan is utterly shocking – protecting the human rights of LGBTI people is not a concession, but an obligation under international law that Armenia is a party to,” said Dalhuisen.

Homophobia and Transphobia in Tbilisi

On Thursday, a peaceful march in central Tbilisi marking the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia came under attack when a group of Orthodox Christians and members of the “Orthodox Parents’ Union” began insulting and threatening protesters from IDENTOBA, a Georgian LGBTI rights organization.

Orthodox priests were among the counter-demonstrators, who prevented the marchers from continuing to the Georgian Parliament, shouting abuse and throwing punches at the peaceful protesters. Fighting reportedly broke out as the counter-demonstrators attacked marchers, tearing up placards.

A video of the incident shows police intervening once a scuffle broke out between the two groups. Five people were detained – including three of the IDENTOBA protesters – and were released shortly afterwards.

“A hallmark of a tolerant society is allowing peaceful protests to proceed and stopping discrimination in its tracks,” said Dalhuisen.

Public authorities must respect the freedom of expression of all groups without discrimination. This extends to protecting peaceful demonstrators from violent attacks.

“Police in Tbilisi failed to prevent homophobic and transphobic violence from marring the International Day against Homophobia march – they must now investigate what went wrong and implement measures to improve their policing of peaceful demonstrations in future,” Dalhuisen added.

Concerns in Baku ahead of Eurovision

LGBTI groups in the neighbouring South Caucasus country of Azerbaijan have also raised concerns about the safety of LGBTI participants in the upcoming Eurovision song contest, which will take place in the capital Baku from 22-26 May.

Azerbaijan decriminalized same-sex relations in 2001, but has so far failed to enact laws that specifically ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and provide effective protection to LGBTI people. Homophobia and transphobia remain rife and little progress has been made to change public attitudes and the discriminatory practices against LGBTI people.

May 18, 2012

AGLA NY’s Statement In Response to the May 8th Terror Attack in Yerevan

For immediate release
May 17, 2012
Press contact:

The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York is appalled by the terrorist firebombing of DIY bar on May 8 and the subsequent hate crimes against the establishment this past week. We also condemn the proliferation of verbal, Facebook, Youtube and other online attacks lodged against the queer community of Yerevan. Furthermore, we denounce acts of hate speech and threats against anyone in Armenia deemed different or “threatening to society”, including artists, intellectuals, and other free-thinkers.

Most despicable are the words and actions of Dashnaktsutyun MP Artsvik Minasyan, who financially sponsored the bail for one of the two neo-fascist attackers of DIY and who recently deemed their actions “in accordance with national ideology.” In the same interview with Panorama News Agency, Minasyan targeted the manager of DIY, Tsomak Oganesova, stating that “her kind are destroying Armenian society.” Such statements may be used to justify violent acts against hundreds if not thousands of peaceful, law-abiding citizens. To date, there has been no official call from Dashnaktsutyun or the Armenian government to investigate Minasyan or to take him to task: this is unacceptable. In the meantime, Minasyan is violating Dashnak philosophy and continues to issue egregiously homophobic and harmful statements under their banner. The Armenian Parliament and Dashnaktsutyun should reprimand Minasyan, ask him to resign or remove him from office immediately for inflaming conflict and endangering lives.

Today on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, AGLA NY stands in unity with our partnering organizations PINK, the Women’s Resource Center, Queering Yerevan, and others to call for tolerance and a renewed commitment to human rights among individuals and institutions, in Armenia and in the diaspora. Most importantly, to the LGBT community in Armenia who are living under dangerous circumstances, we offer our undying support.

Founded in 1998, the Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) provides a space for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender Armenian-Americans, their partners and their allies to come together as a community. It is a forum which fosters our visibility and strengthens our cultural and ethnic ties to the queer communities and Armenian communities to which we each belong. The purpose of AGLA NY is also to inform both the Armenian and American communities about issues of importance to LGBT Armenians and Armenian-Americans, as well as the larger American community. For more information, visit AGLA NY at or email

April 27, 2012

Together for better

I am in Zagreb this week with one of our active volunteer, participating in International Conference. Different organization from Balkans, Arab World and Caucasus are here, sharing their experience, success stories, difficulties and developments.
Another team of 4 people are in Greece now; they are involved in environmental project there, presented environmental issues of Armenia, mainly the problems of Teghut Forest.
And the editor of “As you” e-mag is in the USA, participating in the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
The rest of our team with the help of international and local volunteers are conducted seminars and meetings, preparing new activities, getting ready for historical upcoming events.
What gives us power and makes our work more effective is positive attitude of our supporters. When I look around to see international experience and also developments in my country, I understand that this young organization with a pink heart gained a lot in its 5 years.
This year is so important for us, this year we celebrate the 5th year of our activism as an organization. This is not only our anniversary but also for those who believe that one day the world will become a safer place for all of us to live in.

And this is really exciting to see the link that our friend and famous blogger Mika shared on his Facebook wall that via PINK is among the top 5 Armenian brands in Facebook. Based on the same source PINK is also among the top 5 Armenian brands in Youtube and its “As You” e-magazine is in the top list of the media in Facebook.
Mamikon Hovsepyan
proud to work with the team of professionals at PINK

April 18, 2012

Day of silence

On April 20 we keep silent to be heard, what do you do to break the silence?

The main purpose of this day is to get the public’s attention, by raising awareness on the issues of violence, intolerance, harassment, and discrimination and by developing relevant and effective solutions in an effort to eliminate them. The International Day of Silence is directed to the world wide public and aims to capture people’s attention on the spread of hate crimes against LGBT communities, homophobia, bullying, physical and psychological abuse, discrimination and intolerance. Every year, thousands of people take part in the events dedicated to the Day of Silence in an effort to increase participation and activism for the reduction of homophobia in educational institutions. This is an opportunity to show the public that this problem concerns not only the LGBT people, but also us, our family members, relatives, friends and all layers of the society.

Day by day, thousands of people keep silent. They keep silent because they are afraid. They keep silent because they are what they are. Our brothers, our sisters, our parents, our friends and coworkers are among them, homosexuals and heterosexuals keep silent, you keep silent and I also keep silent. This is the silence of the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people about discrimination, violence, harassment, which they permanently face. On this day, their silence will be heard all over the world. Millions of people will keep silent in different parts of the world, regardless of their nationality, religion, sex, age, profession, sexual orientation and other personal qualities. They will keep silent because they believe that harassment and discrimination must end. In countries where LGBT rights are better respected, they will keep silent for the educational institutions on its mission to become safer for everyone, regardless of nationality, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. Finally, in countries where LGBT rights are not protected, the Day of Silence is dedicated to the elimination of homophobia and prevention of hate crimes. People are taking part in the Day of Silence to elucidate this issue and let LGBT people feel that they are not alone.

March 7, 2012

Brave lady Lala Aslikyan

Somebody calls her Lala D'ark, another says that she is Iron Lady. She is strong, she is brave, she is worried for human rights situation in Armenia and every single ones' life. She is well known human rights activist in Armenia thinking of environment, human dignity, equality, democracy, LGBT and gender issues.

Her friends are always proud of her. Lala empowers hundreds to protect their own rights and the rights of others.

Below Arevik Martirossian,civil society activist is talking about Lala's activism, how much she is proud to know Lala.

photo by Jamie Maddison Reporting
Արևիկ Մարտիրոսյանը Լալայի մասին

Գաղտնիք չի, որ Լալա դ’Արկը քաղաքացիական դաշտի ավանդույթներ ձևավորողներից է Հայաստանում: Միասին կազմակերպՎում ենք ամենատարբեր սոցիալական հիմնախնդիրների շուրջ ձևավորված քաղաքացիական նախաձեռնություններում` Հեղաֆորումից սկսած մինչ բացօթյա առևտրականների շահերի պաշտպանություն, Կանաչ Կապան, Թեղուտ, Բանակն իրականում և այլն:

Լալայի մեջ գնահատում եմ և կիսում ՁԱԽ արժեհամակարգը, ըստ իս, ինչի պակասը մեզանում ձախողում է կենսունակ հասարակություն ունենալու հնարավորությունը... Բացառապես Լալայի նախաձեռնությամբ վերջերս ձևավորել ենք Հեղառիթմեր խումբը, որը ամենատարբեր ակցիաներում դիմադրության արտահայտման ստեղծագործ ձև է:

Հպարտ եմ, որ քաղաքացիական դաշտի կայացման ճանապարհին Լալայի պես հուսալի պայքարակից ունեմ: Լալան, իմ կարծիքով, ոչ միայն քաղաքացիական, այլև համամարդկային արժեք է. իր տեսակը եթե փոքր-ինչ շատ գերակշռեր` կապրեինք ազատ, արդար, անվտանգ և սոլիդար աշխարհում:

Կարդացեք նաև Լալա Ասլիկյանի հետ հարցազրույցը
Read also interview with Lala Aslikyan

Ten condom commandments

Condoms are widely promoted as one of the most effective ways of preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, but a recent study has found that incorrect use of condoms is common and affects their effectiveness.

Indiana University's Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction conducted a review of global literature on condom errors and problems from 1995 to 2011. News has put together a list of suggestions based on some of the common errors reported:

Use it from beginning to end - Sometimes the condom is applied once intercourse has already started, or removed before intercourse has ended. The review found that this error was frequently reported; another common mistake was starting sex before the condom was unrolled to the base of the penis. Condoms should be fully applied before intercourse has begun and should only be removed once intercourse is finished.

Do not completely unroll the condom before putting it on - A 2002 study of 158 US college men found that 25 percent completely unrolled the condom before putting it on, rather than the correct method, which involves rolling the condom on to an erect penis.

How to use a condom
  • Check the expiration date
  • Make sure you can feel the air
    bubble in the closed packet
  • Carefully open the condom
  • Ensure it is the right side up
  • Ensure there is about 1cm of
    space at the tip
  • Place the condom on the penis
  • Roll it all the way to the base
  • Hold on to the base of the
    condom when withdrawing
  • Dispose of the condom
Leave a space at the tip of the condom - Generally, it is recommended that a space of about 1cm be left at the top of the condom to collect semen; if no space is left, there is a risk that the semen may run down the sides of the condom and leak out before the penis is withdrawn. Three studies reviewed reported prevalence rates for not leaving space at the tip, ranging from 24.3 percent to 45.7 percent.

Squeeze air from the tip before use - Excess air should be removed from a condom before use, as it can cause breakage. In a 2005 US study, 41.6 percent of men and 48.1 percent of women reported that air was not squeezed from the tip before use.

Put the condom on right way up - The study found that another common condom error was putting the condom on inside out and then flipping it over and using it the right way round; this poses risks because it potentially exposes the sexual partner to pre-ejaculate once the condom is flipped to the correct side. If the condom is put on inside out, it is best to discard it and use a fresh one.

Be careful not to damage the condom - The study reported the use of sharp objects to open the packet, knowingly using a damaged condom or not checking for physical damage. Condom packets should not be opened with fingernails, scissors or other sharp objects. 

Use the right lubricant - Some common lubrication issues include the use of un-lubricated condoms, which increases the risk of breakage, and oil-based lubricants, which break down the latex and make it more likely to break. If lubricant is required, water-based lubricants are preferable to reduce the risk of breakage. 

Withdraw correctly - Not holding the base of the condom during withdrawal can lead to leakage. Incorrect withdrawal was reported in as many as 57 percent of condom-use events in one study.

Store safely and check expiration dates - Ideally, condoms should be kept in a cool, dry place; condoms in wallets or in back pockets for long periods are not a good idea, as body heat can weaken them. Incorrect storage was reported by 19.1 percent of participants in a 2003 US study.

Do not re-use - Condoms are intended for single use, and should be disposed of after intercourse. Re-use of condoms was rarely reported in the studies in this review, but may be more common in less economically developed countries or among the poor. In Kenya, at least one community reported washing and re-using condoms due to the long distance between villages and health centres providing free condoms.

source: IRIN

February 26, 2012

Report: LGBT rights situation in Armenia 2011

LGBT rights violation can be witnessed in various spheres of social life. LGBT people state that there is discrimination toward them in educational institutions and there were cases when a person was bullied by a teacher because of being feminine (in case of a male person) or masculine (in case of a female person), forced to drop out from the university because of his/her sexual orientation. Scientific papers and work on this issue is not welcomed, because the stance of the lecturers is that it is a perversion and the person is perverted if he/she wants to work on this topic. A gay student was not allowed to write a paper about homosexuality as the lecturer stated that he can’t be objective taking into account his sexual orientation.

Employment remains one of the most problematic aspects of life for LGBT people as employers refuse to hire someone who is open about his/her sexual orientation or his either feminine (gay) or masculine (lesbian). Transgender people have no opportunity to be open about their gender identity and there is no relevant legislation which will allow transsexual persons to change sex. Quite often LGBT people refuse to visit healthcare institutions in case of a necessity being not sure about the confidentiality there. If they contact civil society organizations they are being referred to LGBT friendly doctors, otherwise there is a high risk that person will be discriminated and will receive degrading attitude.

Army remains one of the most challenging institutions due to its closed nature and non-written rules which exist there and lead to discriminative and violent approach toward this group of people. In most of the cases media approach toward LGBT people is biased and based on stereotypes, prejudice and has no scientific and contemporary approach. There is no political willingness from the side of government institutions to protect LGBT rights and quite often they appear in the position of violators.

The stance of civil society toward LGBT rights is not united as well. Despite the fact that civil society organizations are able to work in the sphere of LGBT rights protection and take actions for changes, there is no support from the government and public and some part of civil society.

Although there are no radical changes in the above mentioned aspects, in this report we will focus on several aspects of social life and will present most common issues and problems of LGBT community in the Republic of Armenia which were registered in the past 2011.

Read more about the attitude of society, media, church, police and achievments in 2011 in our official website