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Armenian activists mark International Day Against Homophobia

18 May 2017
British Embassy in Yerevan (Facebook)

From 15–21 May, Armenian activists are holding a series of open and closed events to mark International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which is observed internationally on 17 May.

Queer rights group PINK Armenia has organised a series of events concerning the general situation of queer people in Armenia, increasing positive visibility of queer people, and strategies for raising awareness. On 17 May, a closed theatrical performance of the Queer Monologues was held to raise awareness about issues faced by queer Armenian women.

This year, unlike in neighbouring Georgia, no rallies were held by activists.

‘We have had some practices like that in the past, so it’s not impossible that we will hold them in the future. For now we don’t have plans like that’, Armen Aghajanov, project coordinator at PINK Armenia told OC Media.

PINK Armenia also released two short public service announcements promoting queer rights and visibility through their YouTube channel.

The British Embassy in Yerevan marked 17 May by flying the rainbow flag in front the embassy.

‘British Embassy Yerevan promoting tolerance and non-discrimination. Human rights are universal and apply equally to all without distinction’, a statement on the embassy’s Facebook page reads.

The move sparked some backlash on social media, with some commenters questioning the UK’s commitment to human rights, because they do not recognising the Armenian Genocide and do not support Armenia in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

‘If you’re so focused on human rights, how about recognition of the Armenian Genocide? Or why don’t you tell our Azeri neighbours to stop with the ceasefire violations?’ user Ara Sarkisyan wrote.

International Day Against Homophobia is observed annually in more than 120 countries on 17 May. The date was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.

[Read also on OC Media: ‘Why can’t I kiss my girlfriend in public?’ The story of an Armenian queer woman]

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