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.

March 17, 2016

Support Group of LGBT People Living with HIV

In recognition of Zero Discrimination Day, which the United Nations celebrates on March 1, a support group meeting of LGBT people living with HIV took place at PINK. The meeting, which was attended by 15 people, and aimed to unite LGBT people living with HIV and allies to discuss HIV-related issues, to share experiences and support each other. This was the first event of its type, as LGBT people living with HIV prefer not to speak about their status to avoid double discrimination.

During the meeting, allies shared their experience on when they first met people living with HIV, and HIV positive people told their stories and the challenges they face both from the larger public and the LGBT community. Strategies were discussed on how to eliminate the discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV within LGBT community, which will only become possible through joint efforts and support.