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Coming Out: On Being Gay in the ARF

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By Apraham Niziblian

As an Agoump rat, I grew up in a very Armenian and traditional household and community here in Montreal, attending Sourp Hagop Day School, participating in the AYF as a local and Central Committee executive, and later joining the ARF ranks—as the Karabagh movement was at its most critical moments. All this was done, however, while I hid an important part of my identity. I constantly feared how the community would deal with me as an Out AYF-er or ARF-er. I always feared the worst! So I preferred to hide.

They made me realize that the ARF, the ANCA, and Armenian society at large (in the diaspora and in Armenia) need every single last Armenian—and supporter—to advance our cause. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo)

Of course, as a teenager, I realized that I was different. When most of my childhood friends spoke of their sexual desires, I could not understand why mine were different. As my friends looked at Samantha Fox, I preferred ogling Madonna’s back-up dancers. I eventually came to the understanding that it was simply human nature, and that I could not change this part of myself, not that I ever wanted to!

My strong Armenian activism and identification with the ARF and the ANCA, coupled with my profound desire to change the status quo, eventually took me to Washington, D.C., where I lobbied for many of the issues we know and love the ANCA for—mostly for supporting the Armenian nation and every single Armenian, no matter their political and social views, and regardless of their sexual orientation.

As I decided to come out—on the cover page of the Denver Post—I faced a dilemma. Face the music (as I thought I would have to) or leave the high-profile position in the ANCA in Washington (basically, run and hide from the community). In the end, I decided to stay because it was so the right thing to do. Not a single event made me need to reconsider that decision. I knew as the first gay Armenian occupying such a position with an important Armenian American organization, I would have to answer some hard questions. I had many discussions with LGBT youth who interned or passed through the ANCA doors, whether AYF-ers or later ARF-ers. It was a naturally safe and welcome place where everyone was accepted—everyone!

While I was working in the ANCA, Aram Hamparian, my boss, as I still love to call him, and Elizabeth Chouldjian and Chris Hekimian, my colleagues, all devoted ARF members, were nothing short of supportive. As the gay marriage debate under George Bush’s first term was becoming more and more divisive, I found it surprising that the whole ANCA team, locally and nationally, regarded my sexual preference as a non-issue. They made me realize that the ARF, the ANCA, and Armenian society at large (in the diaspora and in Armenia) need every single last Armenian—and supporter—to advance our cause. This will only make us stronger as an open society, inclusive of every individual!

Though some individual Armenians, including some ARF-ers, still have issues with LGBT people in general, I need to say that the ARF Gomidehs in D.C., Montreal, Paris, or anywhere I have been, including Armenian and Artsakh, have never once shown any intolerance with regards to my sexuality.

Today, I remain an active member, participate in meetings and activities, and am never made to feel that I do not belong within the ARF structure.

Unfortunately, some elements of Armenian society are not going to accept this position, as they did not accept that bars in Armenia should be a safe-space for all free-thinkers and people of various sexual orientations. I unconditionally condemn this attack on liberty, as I know the ARF has and will again anywhere, anytime any form of intolerance occurs. I believe that our nation has not only the capacity to accept every single person, and embrace the difference, but also the obligation to do so.

Today, as the debate (finally) rages on the place Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual Armenians should have in our communities, I find there is much need for people who are out and active in our communities (and we are legion) to come forward. We can change things when and if we decide to take our place in society, not run from it.

 

Apraham (Apo) Niziblian is a student-at-law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He is also a former ANCA government relations director.

65 Comments on Coming Out: On Being Gay in the ARF

  1. Good story and this guy and every person whose work in it will gain the good results. All Armenian and American and Europe must be together for help Armenia and all world to understand and be not hateful. In real not every Armenian hateful to gay people but the citizen’s mind change when we all work together. Every country had the problems with Human Rights protection but this problem was resolved. In Armenia existed the Human Rights organizations whose protect persons and this is a happy news. All things which we must to do is work together for leaving a free persons to show all that we all need a love and we all HUMAN BEINGS!!! I know we can do it if we work together!!!

  2. Proud of you Apo jan!

  3. Elements of Armenian Society are not going to accept it because it is unhealthy and a detriment to creating a strong, intelligent, and nationalistic nation and race. We, as healthy Armenians, want Armenians to continue their traditions in language, family, nation, and race. We don’t want the decadence of the West to creep into our families and country. Look at the economic and social collapse of the West and you’ll know what you are trying to promote here is destruction and not progress.

    • Dear Sako,

      There are many moral people I know who are gay and there are many immoral people I know that are straight. Decadence will lead to destruction, but being a homosexual is not decadence and being heterosexual does not equate to moral life. Obviously, you must know many decadent, immoral straight men and women.

      No person chooses to be gay. It is not a choice and nature will always create it. Let us fight corruption, dishonesty, exploitation, thievery and selfishness.

      Peace to you.

    • The guys who have a feeling to girls they can continue have a children, but no one can’t and haven’t the rule to discriminate the guys whose want a guy in Not Every country need children not only Armenia. Armenia not a special country for that. If Armenia wants have a children is not mean the Armenia have a rule to kill or hate that guys in gay feeling. No one give this opportunity to Armenia. Who are Armenia to rule the peoples personal life? Who Armenia to command and rule every Armenian’s and control them? Who are you all for control the peoples personality? Every one is EQUAL and will be always. If any one not accept gay peoples in Armenia it is his problem, but he or she can’t and haven’t rule in public and in every place discriminate and bit or kill gay peoples. In Armenia existed the Human Rights protections and the Armenian Human Rights Code 14.1 said that every person is free and must have a free life even anyone not accept disables, gays, blacks and etc. Every one need in Armenia learn the LAW and KEEP IT. Armenia learned to live without law but now the time that every one know his place and his rules and not disturb others. The judgment existed for stupids and for discriminators in Armenia. And this give a happiness because FREEDOM FOR ALL AND LOVE FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • avatar Apraham Niziblian // May 27, 2012 at 8:07 am //

      Dear Sako,

      I don’t know how to put this without being rude, I do not care if people accept my sexuality or not. I am here, I am not going anywhere and I am fighting for the survival of the Armenian people!

      So you have a choice: 1) You push me out – which never really works because there are more GLBT who will join in the fight for Armenia; 2) You will have to look the other way and realize that what I do in my bedroom is not something that concerns you.
      If you choose the latter, then we can focus on the real issues that are facing Armenia and the Diaspora; if you choose the former, then we will all lose precious time, energy and people, while our adversaries mark important points.

      Finally, I do not know HOW I can promote destruction – please explain… I didn’t know I could do that single-handedly!

      AN

    • It all depends on what you mean by a “strong, intelligent, and nationalistic nation and race.” Last time I checked, Armenia was among the most impoverished countries in Europe and the so-called conservative values which are supposed to make us strong and intelligent has turned the country into a $hithole where men leave the country to find jobs in Russia and have fun with Russian blondes and women leave the country for Turkey and UAE for prostitution, is that the “strong and intelligent” nation you dream of?! Homosexuals are part of every society in the world, they have always been and they will always be, their existence is not unhealthy as they cannot impose their lifestyle on the rest of the society, in fact, they didn’t adopt that lifestyle on their own volition, they are simply born that way. Moreover, Forcing this people to hide or repress their sexual desires will only lead to the creation of unhealthy and fictitious families.

    • Dear Apraham,

      Thank you for this well written article. Instead of pushing gay people away we should accept them the way they are. Gay people, in general, are very sensitive people and there are many talented artists in gay people.

      I think many people are frightened because they think that gay people are threat to their children but children cannot become gay by seeing gay people or being exposed to gay culture. Real threat to children is drugs, alcohol, excessive video games, fast food, soda etc. From the number of obese or overweight kids that I see I do not think that parents are doing a good job in that department.

      Let’s worry about real issues that are plugging our country. And as someone said before ”even God does not intend to judge people in this world why should I?”

  4. Pride in our culture and heritage and acceptance of different sexual orientations are not incompatible. Undoubtedly there were gay men in Vartan Mamigonian’s army, gay fedayees, gay men fighting in Karabagh, gay religious leaders in our churches, etc. The decline of western civilizations has to do with intolerance and greed.

    • Every country need children not only Armenia. Armenia not a special country for that. If Armenia wants have a children is not mean the Armenia have a rule to kill or hate that guys in gay feeling. No one give this opportunity to Armenia. Who are Armenia to rule the peoples personal life? Who Armenia to command and rule every Armenian’s and control them? Who are you all for control the peoples personality? Every one is EQUAL and will be always. If any one not accept gay peoples in Armenia it is his problem, but he or she can’t and haven’t rule in public and in every place discriminate and bit or kill gay peoples. In Armenia existed the Human Rights protections and the Armenian Human Rights Code 14.1 said that every person is free and must have a free life even anyone not accept disables, gays, blacks and etc. Every one need in Armenia learn the LAW and KEEP IT. Armenia learned to live without law but now the time that every one know his place and his rules and not disturb others. The judgment existed for stupids and for discriminators in Armenia. And this give a happiness because FREEDOM FOR ALL AND LOVE FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Vicken you cannot be further from the truth, do you have any written or tangible proof to your gross distortion of Armenian History?

      Homosexuals could exist, but do not distort our history. Read the history of Yeghishe, the Azgapatum, Housher of Ruben the Fedayee, and the modern military doctrine of the Armenian Military. Gays existing in these organizations were neither tolerated not condoned, it was categorically rejected and condemned by any angle you look at it. If a gay is in a church today, it does not mean that a church accepts such ill inside it.

  5. It is similarly hard to be a non-Christian Armenian as well.

  6. Well, I don’t think the ARF or AYF has any position on gays, so why is this article making these organizations sound like it has a policy against gays? There may be people in these organizations that are against the gay life style, and that is their natural right as human beings to voice their opinion. I don’t belong to these organizations and I have a problem with gays, and no one can take away my right to voice my concerns. Gay people whine about their rights all while taking away rights of other people that criticize them with valid arguments.

    Also what is wrong with gay people not being open? Why do you need to publicize your sex life to the public? Isn’t it better to keep what you do in your personal life private? If you think about it, the real issue with people against gays is the gay culture being bombarded on everyone.

    • Even person or organization not accept the gay people, they not have a rule to attack, kill, bit gay people or preach a hateful minds. The Gay life style not only sexual lifestyle. Why I should to hide my love in public if I love him? Why guy and girl show their lifestyle but I am not? Of course I must to show it in order I will be free and show that I can love clear. The people in Armenia must see that gay guys also can love each other and can care about each other. But sex not for public. No one, heterosexual or homosexual not have a rule to do sex in public. But love we all can show in public and it depends of personality. If person really love someone he or she can’t hide it. The guys in homosexual feeling also have a love and have a rule to take hands, hug each other when they set in park and etc.

  7. That’s one great story; but I wish Apraham was present at yesterday’s ATV’s “Half-Open Windows” (“Կիսաբաց Պատուհաններ”), which is to be aired tomorrow evening and see how the church, the nationalists and the conservative majority say that homosexuals have no place in the Armenian society, with the priest, representing the official AAC view, saying “it’s deviant, it’s a sickness”, and two neonazi teens saying they could beat down the people at the cultural diversity parade (not a gay pride parade as they were lying) all by themselves.
    And how individuals, not the Armenian society, were calling for mutual tolerance. That all the four groups of people – the ultranationalists, conservatives, liberals and homosexuals should learn to live together, because no group has the right to tell the other has no right to exist.

    We cannot win this fight if people like Apraham do not speak out, do not teach our nation that Armenia should come out of the closet too. We’ve been hiding we have LGBT people for far too long.

    • գիտե՞ք ինչ, Բայանդուր. գուցե արտասահմանում այդ երևույթը սովորական համարվի, բայց փոքրիկ և սակավամարդ Հայաստանում դա լուրջ վտանգավոր է, դա այլասերություն է, որ սպառնում է մեր տեսակին, դա թշնամու ծրագիր է ջլատելու մեզ, միթէ դա պարզ չի. ես չեմ սիրում պարտադրանքը կամ ազատությունները սահմանափակելու վիճակը. ես այն չեմ դատում եկեղեցական տեսանկյունից, թող եկեղեցին մաքրի իր դռներից ներս ծավալվող համասեռամոլությունը. սակայն երբ դա սպառնում է հասակ առնող իմ զավակներին, ես աշխատում եմ հեռացնել, ավելի շուտ, կանխել վտանգը: համասեռամոլությունը դրոշակի վերածել պետք չի, այն միշտ եղել է պատմության մեջ: այն տպավորությունն է, որ նրանք ավելի իրավասություններ ունեն և փոքրամասնությունը մենք ենք: Միլիարդանոց Չինաստանում մահապատիժ է հասնում նրանց, որովհետև իր ազգի մտածելակերպի և տեսակի վրա է անդրադառնալու: իսկ ինչու՞ ես չմտահոգվեմ և չպայքարեմ իմ ազգի տղամարդկանց տղամարդկային հատկանիշներից դատարկվելու փաստին իտես: լռե՞մ, որպեսզի հառաջադիմություն խաղամ. լռե՞մ, որպեսզի օտարերկրացի բարեգործական կազմակերպությունները հսկայական գումարներ վաստակեն գործիք ծառայելով ազգս բնաջնջող քստմնելի ծրագիրներին: մեր տեսակի պահպանման մասին է խոսքը և ես ձեզ հարգելով, որպես յուրահատուկ մտածելակերպ ունեցող երիտասարդի, ուզեցի գրել ձեզ: ինչու համար ոճրագործին դատում են և մեկուսացնում, որովհետև վնասում է շրջապատին: իսկ համասեռամոլը արդյո՞ք չի սպառնում շրջապատի հոգևոր մաքրությունը աղավաղել: հասկանալով հանդերձ, որ հոգին բազմաթիվ կյանքերի ընթացքին երբեմն լինելով կին, իր նոր ծնունդի ժամանակ իր հետ է բերում նաև անցյալ կյանքի հիշողություններ, այդ թվում և կանացի հատկանիշներ. և նոր կյանքում տղամարդը ունենում է կանացի կողմնորոշում. սակայն հասկանալով հանդերձ այս իրականությունը, ՉԻ ԿԱՐԵԼԻ անտեսել մարդու ունեցած հսկայական կարողությունը վերափոխվելու և մաքրվելու: մենք հոգևոր դեկրատացում ենք ապրում: դրսի հոգեբանությունը արհեստականորեն մի բերեք մեր երկիր: մի հավատացեք դրսեցիների ազատամտության խոսքերին: կներեք երկար ու բարակ քննարկումներիս: բայց կառաջարկեմ քնելուց առաջ հիշեք և վերլուծեք խոսքերս: ինձ համար նշանաբան է պահել և պաշտպանել հայն ու հայկականը:

    • Համասեռամոլ դա կոչվում է մանիակ, ինչպես նաև գետեռամոլ որ սաղ աղջիկների հետ տղեն քնում հելնում է: Վտանգավոր է մոլուցքը: Վտանգավոր է սեքսը դարձնել մոլուցք: Քանի որ եթե մարդու մեջ գոյություն չունի սեր հասկացությունը նա մեխանիկորեն դառնում է մոլուցքով տարված: Եթե տղեն ունի համասեռ զգացմունք դա հլը չի նշանակում որ ինքը վտանգավորա: Նորմալ տղեն որ ունի համասեռ զգացմունք երբեք բռնություն չի ցուցաբերի ոչ երեխաների, ոչ ուրիշ չափահաս տղեքի հանդեպ ու չի օգտագործի իր սեռական հաճույքները բավարարելու համար: Նորմալ համասեռ զգացմունք ունեցող տղեն ինքն իրեն հարգում է ու իր կյանքում կունենա մեկին ու կապրի իրա հետ: Նույն բանը կարամ ասեմ տղեքի մասին ովքեր աղջկա հետեվից ինչ ասես ասում են ու ոնց կուզեն կոգտագործեն էդ աղջկան սա էլա վտանգավոր քանի որ տղեն աղջկան չի հարգում այլ ուզումա ուղղակի օգտագործի աղջկան: Տղեն ունենա համասեռականություն թե գետեռասեքսուալություն ինքը պետքա մնա տղամարդ իրա էությամբ ու երբեք չպետքա ունենա մոլուցքներ թե տղու նկատմամբ թե աղջկա: Ստեղ ոչ Ամերիկայի հարցնա ոչ էլ Եվրոպայի: Ամերիկան կամ Եվրոպան ստեղ կապ չունեն համասեռ զգացմունքի հետ: Ամեն ազգի մեջ էլ կա տղա համասեռ զգացմունքով : Ու եթե մարդու մեջ կան հոգևոր արժեքներ, մարդկային արժեքներ ուրեմն էդ մարդը ՄԱՐԴԱ անկախ իրա սեռական զգացմունքներից: Ու պետք չի անընդհատ շեշտ էլ հայ տեսակը: Եթե հայա ուրեմն ռոբոտիզացված պետք՞ա ապրի: Էն տղեն որ աղջիկա սիրում կսիրի ու էրեխեք կունենան ու հայ տեսակը չի վերանա, մի անհանգստացեք: Ամեն մարդուն իր կյանքնա տված: Իսկ ինչ վերաբերվումա Ամերիկային կամ Եվրոպային ասեմ, իրանց մոտ զարգացածա կրթվածությունը, կուլտուրան ու մարդուն հարգելու մտածելակերպը: Ու իրանք ամեն ինչ անում են որ իրանց երկրում մարդիկ իրոք հավասար զգան իրանց այլ ոչ թե երկրորդ սորտի: Ու դա գալիսա մարդուց, ինչքան մարդ բարիա ու հասկացող էնքան մարդ ավելիա հարգում այն մարդկանց ով իրանից տարբերվումա: Հայաստանը փոքր չի էդ մեկ, էդքան մարդ կա ու ամեն օրել մարդիկ են ծնվում: Պետք չի դոգմայացնել ծնելիությունը, տղեն ռոբոտ չի այլ մարդա: Քիչա մնում հատուկ բաժին բացեն Հայաստանի ուսումնական հաստատություններում ծնելիության վերաբերյալ :) Ծիծաղելիա ուղղակի: Ու պետք չի մտածել որ եթե գոյություն ունեն համասեռ զգացմունքով տղեք ուրեմն Հայաստանի ծնելությունը կկանգնի :) Տենց բան չի կարա լինի: Սաղ իրար նման չեն կարա լինեն: Հայաստանում արդեն զգացվումա որ զարգացություն կա բայց որոշների մոտ հլը զգացվումա որ ուզում են սաղին տենան ընենց ոնց իրանքեն ուզում տենան կամ ոնց սովորեն տենան: Պետքա հասկանալ որ իրավունք չունի ոչ ոք խառնվելու ուրիշի անձնականի մեջ: Համասեռ զգացմունքով տղեն կարա սիրի տղուն ու էդ սերը կա, ու կարևոր չի թե ովա էդ ընդունում ով չէ: Ուղղակի պետքա մարդկային լինել ու տարբերել համասեռա + մոլ և գետեռա + մոլներին ու նորմալ համասեռականություն ու գետեռասեռականություն ունեցողներին: Իսկ նորմալը դա ՍԵՐՆ Է: Եթե մարդ կարումա սիրի մեկին ուրեմն ինքը ՄԱՐԴԱ: Ու էդ մարդը երբեք վտանգավոր չի կարա լինի:

  8. Apo, I’m glad that you stuck around. LSI would not have been the same without you.

    You inspired me to write a college paper about the Armenian gay and lesbian community in California. Sadly, not everyone I had interviewed was as open minded as those you mentioned in the ANCA and the ARF, but hopefully that too will change.

    • Ani jan, I am ready to help you. If you need a help or if you need a story or paper say me I will write myself.

  9. I respect the fact that there have been Armenian gays throughout history, and their sexual identity does not make them any less Armenian. However, I ask the question, is the process of “coming out” really all that necessary given that we have a small, religious, and conservative culture? If you are a gay Armenian and you appreciate being Armenian, that would automatically mean that you respect our history and heritage, wouldn’t it?

    I am sure that there are Armenian gays out there that would agree to keep their sexual identity to themselves within the sphere of the Armenian culture. Many of you are very quick to accuse anyone that disagrees with you of being Nazis or labeling everyone “ultra-nationalists, extremists, Neo-Nazis”, etc. For this very reason alone, what happened lately with the bar incident is of no consequence to me, because what the Armenian gays are doing is in my opinion more extremist than the ones you accuse of being extremist. Within a short week all I saw from gays was an assault on our heroes, our ancient symbols, our church and our history.

    The only policy suitable for our culture that I can think of is “don’t ask, don’t tell”, and the gay Armenian community must respect the fact that they are neither the majority, nor popular. With this in mind, especially with someone who is in the ARF, you know that causing waves within our culture is counter-productive and against our mission to be a unified strong people with a strong identity.

    While we are on this subject, I will touch upon another related issue which in my opinion is actually worse than being gay as far as the Armenian culture is concerned – and that is assimilation. Within the diaspora this has been going on for 100 years, and now even in Armenia. Those people that are concerned about gays in my opinion should first and foremost be concerned about our youth marrying foreigners and leaving our culture, assimilating and disappearing. How many Armenian parents out there have lived the rest of their lives in misery because their son or daughter carelessly assimilated and failed to continue our culture, only to regret it later? As far as I’m concerned this is the biggest problem that we are facing, even more than the lack of genocide recognition, loss of lands, etc because if we do not keep our race, language, identity, and culture, everything else has no value.

    • avatar Random Armenian // May 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm //

      Kep Kop,

      Please read: http://news.am/eng/news/107309.html

      When acts such as the bombing of the bar is not condemned as violence and as something unacceptable, it will escalate. And that is what’s going on. When people like you brush off the initial violence as something of no consequence, it only gives green light to more violence. Is this not extremist enough for you? One day it will be a live bullet.

      Do you support the violence against a segment of the Armenian society? Do you feel it is justified? Yes or no?

      If no you need to condemn this violence. It is unacceptable even if you don’t like the people being targeted.

    • avatar Kep Kop // May 31, 2012 at 11:35 pm //

      I do not condone violence against sexual minorities at all. however, I don’t think I support an open gay society for Armenia. Such a concept is even questioned in the most open societies in the world, and I really think it is unfair for gays, Armenian or otherwise, to be subjecting Armenia to the western standards.

      I really think that it is way too early to introduce gay society in Armenia openly when we have such a small population there to begin with, because in an open gay society, my belief is that those that are hetero and are impressionable and are exposed to gay life may become gay by circumstance, and not necessarily because they were meant to be and this to me is not a positive step. If we had a large country with a population of 300 million, I might feel otherwise.

      And like I said, I do not believe in forcing people into their belief, and I don’t believe that those people with a non-traditional, non-religious viewpoint have a right to openly display themselves in Armenian society – thus I believe in “don’t ask, don’t tell”. If one is gay and feels a need to “come out” – a western concept – then do so outside of Armenia in a community that will accept you, instead of trying to change a conservative society. And as far as parents are concerned, all one needs to say is that they are simply not interested in getting married.

      Now what about the bar owner who went to our enemy Turkey at a gay parade? Why aren’t “patriotic Armenians” who are gay condemn this act? From an Armenian perspective this looks like a deliberate defiant act as if she wants to slap Armenia in the face. Yet no one has spoken against it, therefore I could care less what happened to her bar.

    • avatar Random Armenian // June 3, 2012 at 12:58 am //

      Kep Kop: “my belief is that those that are hetero and are impressionable and are exposed to gay life may become gay by circumstance, ”

      What is your basis of your belief? Is there evidence to this? Is this the experience of many countries which are more open about gays? You’ve expressed a belief and fear, but nothing substantial to show that there is a real threat from gays in Armenia.

      “and I don’t believe that those people with a non-traditional, non-religious viewpoint have a right to openly display themselves in Armenian society”

      You’re trying to deprive others who you feel are not like you the freedom to express themselves. Does this extend to atheists?

      “Now what about the bar owner who went to our enemy Turkey at a gay parade? Why aren’t “patriotic Armenians” who are gay condemn this act? From an Armenian perspective this looks like a deliberate defiant act as if she wants to slap Armenia in the face. Yet no one has spoken against it, therefore I could care less what happened to her bar.”

      You should care because those who torched the bar, and others like them, will feel more emboldened and cause even more trouble.

    • “How many Armenian parents out there have lived the rest of their lives in misery because their son or daughter carelessly assimilated and failed to continue our culture, only to regret it later? As far as I’m concerned this is the biggest problem that we are facing….”

      Kep Kop, truer words were never spoken. And it’s not just parents who suffer. With close-knit Armenian families, it’s also grandparents and, sometimes, great grandparents who suffer. Not to mention the wandering son or daughter and the offspring they create. Assimilation will finish what the Turks started. And the saddest part…”only to regret it later.”

    • avatar Hay Arou // June 7, 2012 at 2:07 am //

      I could not care less for Tzomag as well, especially after listening to her interview. but Tzomag is not the issue here, Tzomag is also an Armenian (sadly as she stated in the interview :s) it’s the homophobia.

      If the bombers had bombed the bar or residence of an Armenian prostitute working in Constantinopolis I wouldn’t have even commented and this article wouldn’t have been written. but the bar had been bombed because of homophobia and to target homosexuals such as myself.

      an Armenian who loves turks (the enemy) is a traitor and no country or individual spares mercy for traitors; and as a PATRIOTIC GAY ARMENIAN I condemn this act and did so at several other occasions. It eats you to see Gay Patriots right? it’s because of the exact thing I’m fighting against. You were brought up to believe that Gays cannot be patriotic. (Alexander the Great was gay)

      how is “come out” a western concept? why are gays opressed only in the West?! comming out is a difficult procedure imposed on gays in order to spread awareness and educate the ignorant of what gay means. It is a necessary weapon against homophobia.

      Do half-breed Armenians have that right “to openly display themselves in Armenian society”? Do uneducated Armenians? Do ugly Armenians? what is non-traditional being gay? how do you know Ara the fair was not gay? are you aware that cultures evolve, traditions are built?

      “then do so outside of Armenia in a community that will accept you, instead of trying to change a conservative society” you’re calling for an emmigration from Armenia to the West; I thought we should be returning to the HOMELAND not away from the Homeland. conservative is good if what your conserving is good ;)

      It is for the best of the Armenian race as a whole and the Eastern-Armenia in specific to release themselves from the grasp of homophobia which I believe was introduced to Eastern Armenian by the Soviet! and to the Diaspora by the turks and the Genocide (which sent us and our evolution… centuries back into the past and oblivion)

  10. Hi Apo,
    thanks so much for writing this. Do you have an email address I could contact you with?

  11. avatar Random Armenian // May 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm // Reply

    Assimilation is the ultimate end result of any diaspora group over the generations. It happens. I don’t understand why there are people who are surprised by this. Even if you feel you have kept your Armenian heritage, you have assimilated something from the country you have resided in. Even the first generation immigrants often adopt something of the host country when they settle in and make a living. There are people out there who are completely taken by surprise that assimilation happens.

    Maybe you missed the neo-Nazi mob that was harassing the peaceful marchers the other day.

    Physical threats and causing damage is not alarming and extremist to you?

  12. avatar Anoosh Gasparian // May 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    Apraham jan, thank you so much for writing, publishing, and speaking out for the tolerance that exists and the tolerance we still need to build.

    To all those who have something to say about homosexuality supposedly ruining the Armenian people… get over it. I couldn’t care less for the opinions you might hold in private, but you have absolutely no right to tell someone their sexuality excludes them from their community or national group. How dare you assume that you have the right to speak for the entire community, especially to spread hate and forward your narrow views on Armenian “pride”.

    Non-heterosexual orientations are not some kind of Western import brought to Armenia by USAID to ‘ruin’ us, they’re not anything new to humanity and are an integral part not just of human society but of the animal kingdom as a whole. Do some reading, talk to people, quit hating.

  13. I am GAY and I am not out!
    not because i agree that my sexuality will degrade Armenian Culture, but because my family is as square headed as some other Armenians out there and tho I am very independent I would not dare shed my parents’ tears.

    That is what I have to live with! I have to live with a FAKE IDENTITY! I have to impress my dad by not being gay (how stupid) and act all macho around my friends cause I cannot let them find out WHO I AM! WHAT I LIKE!

    I’m sure they know. but neither dare I speak of it nor they speak of my “shameful” identity! I ASPIRE TO COME OUT IF ONLY MY PARENTS WOULD TAKE IT LIGHTLY (not for me but for their health)! yet I see people blaming gays for parading around with their sexuality! It’s a basic Human Right…IDENTITY!

    past few weeks I was horrified by the violence in Armenia against KOMIGs and GALOUBOYs!

    I AM A TASHNAGTSAGAN I SWORE TO SERVE MY COUNTRY & PEOPLE AS SOON AS I TURNED 18! but how can i do that when my people want to kill me, the common people who I am to serve with my education and my effort want to tag me and send me to BAKU!!!

    I WOULD ONLY WISH TO ENTER BAKU OR TURKEY AS A SOLDIER!!! LIBERATING MY LANDS!! THE LANDS OF MY ANCESTORS!!!

    My ancestors among whom many were gay!!!

    There are alot of reasons why Khorenatsi wouldn’t write about the gay warriors; not coz they did not exist, but same reason why my achievements are not labeled as a homosexual’s achievements since I refuse to come out! Alot of Gay people have commited suicide because they didn’t have the opportunity to come out! ALAIN TURING the inventor of the computer was one! I am not suicidal but I can say I have sacrificed alot of this short life & it’s not fair!

    I know our music, our paintings, our dance, literature, dress, villages, geography, history, archeology, cuisine….. I have Armenian eyes, Armenian hair, Armenian hands and legs AND I REFUSE TO BE STOLEN OF MY MOST PRECIOUS VIRTUE!!!!! I AM AND WILL BE AN ARMENIAN!!!!

    Enough about me:

    Those gays who went to turkey to participate in the gay parade are as indignified as the non-”KOMIGS” who go to turkey for business or whatever parades the hetero people have!

    It is unjust to hate one because they are attracted to the same gender! If he wants to hug his boyfriend or partner on the street, it is not because he wants to recruit your sons to the gay army, nor turn the entire Armenian population gay, but to love and carass his boyfriend whenever and wherever he chooses. Sexual indecensies whether gay or straight should not be encouraged or allowed in public, noone is advocating that, but not being able to take your boyfriend to a restaurant on Valentine’s day coz people “would know” and they would start cursing and hating seems unimportant but truly hurts!

    • avatar Apraham Niziblian // May 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm //

      Dear Hay Arou,

      I know what you mean and all that you wrote here rings a bell… I only came out at 28 and can I tell you – it was harder FOR ME, than for my parents, friends and community members. My parents took it much better than I thought, since they saw me really happy for the first time in a long time!

      Stop worrying about the health of others and worry about yours- all this hiding and pretending is not good for your own health and self-image. Also, remember that by coming out we break taboos and myths that people around us hold towards gays and what we should be thinking or doing.

      As Armenians, it is harder since are in a smaller pond… especially, if you are an ARF member / community member and want to remain active. But it is so liberating that people will only have a new respect for you – after the initial pampassank!

      You will only discover your true self once you do come out and live your life honestly!

      AN

    • do you know the definition of the Armenian word AROU? if you are proudly declaring that you are a gay, how can it be? AROU means male, so are you arou or a gay? the balance of female & male,(in armenian eg & arou, the old symbol of INYAN) makes the world harmony. in every single person there are that two opposite energies. if they start to loose the balance, if a man loose his MALE energy, he become a gay, & that will improve the un-harmonia in the spirit of that person. & because each of us is a part of the universe, & our smallest act also can effect on the balance of the world, so that guy automatically will effect on the harmony of the world. would you like to be one to destroy the balance? I’m a normal woman, with normal sex desiring, but I’m not announcing that, because there is no need of it. If you are declaring your sex desiring, there is an unhealthy situation in you. so please, think about it. you are a human, you are an armenian, I like your kind, I love you as a part of mine, I take care for you. do not destroy your harmony. you ARE a good armenian, but we need you as a MALE, not as a gay. we are very little nation. we need to increase our quality & number. you ought to become a MALE, because we need you as a good ARMENIAN.

    • He is a person who need to have his partner of life. If Armenia need a children its not mean he must suffer because of increasing. He would unhappy with her and always will want a guy. He will not be happy with this woman and his children never will enjoy his parentship so much. Because he will have a two life. He will have a family with girl and with this he will want a guy and he never can be free and in conclusion he or should hidden to meet with one guy or must divorced with woman. So, why this guy destroy his life, this woman’s life and his children’s life? Because Armenia need increasing ? :) Its not a game. Its a life. Homosexuality is a life in a guy. This not only sex, homosexuality is the life. Please search and understand about this. Homosexual feeling have the same feeling which a heterosexual feeling. In this two feeling exist LOVE. Every person must have his life. Its not mean if guy have a life with guy Armenia not be increasing. Armenia will be increasing because every guy not will have a life with a guy. Who want a girl this will increase. Don’t worry.

    • avatar Random Armenian // June 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm //

      Nare,

      I’m sorry but your writing sounds like newage mumbo-jumbo.

      “in every single person there are that two opposite energies. if they start to loose the balance, if a man loose his MALE energy,”
      What does this mean? How do you know this?

      “that will improve the un-harmonia in the spirit of that person.”
      What does this mean? And how is this a bad thing? You’re asserting that something male/female in a person is off balance, making them gay and therefore that’s bad. Can you be more specific? These are just vague assertions.

      “& because each of us is a part of the universe, & our smallest act also can effect on the balance of the world, so that guy automatically will effect on the harmony of the world. ”
      How?! How does someone being gay throws off the balance/harmony of the world? Because they make you uncomfortable?

      “would you like to be one to destroy the balance?”
      This is simply bullying.

      If two women love each other and have a lasting relationship and are happy, how is that a bad thing? How does that affect what you call the harmony in the world. How does it affect me? If I get to know a lesbian couple, am I, a straight male going to turn into a lesbian? Please explain.

      Your entire post sounds like you’re projecting your prejudices on some vague ideas of harmony and balance. You have not made your argument because you have not tied these ideas to the real world.

    • avatar Hay Arou // June 6, 2012 at 9:20 am //

      I don’t know how to address you Nare; your “mumbo-jumbo” had my blood hit my brain and if you were a guy I would have loved punching ur ugly face.

      Enough with the hot blood; in addition to being manly ;) I am also a gentleman and (as an Armenian) I know how to treat a lady/woman. Seems from you older post (which I didn’t read fully) you are also an Armenian mother. and for the sake of my respect to our Armenian Mothers I will try to explain what gay means and how the general stereotyping has isolated gay society among the Armenian gays.

      I will try to describe myself (hopefully not exposing my identity) and that way answer your questions.

      My name is not Arou. I chose that name to make a point; i.e., being gay does not mean I am feminin, it doesn’t even mean that my estrogen levels are high. It simply means I love men. some men are feminin but not gay, some are both. some aren’t but prefer feminin guys. I myself do not feel comfortable to be seen with feminin guys (thanks to our education system and mothers like you)

      The harmony in the universe is not what you state; many philosophers have argued about good vs evil, chaos vs order and your twisted “definition”/assumption of harmony itself disrupts harmony and creates hatred and a shift in balance.

      You might be a normal woman, but so am I a NORMAL man. there is nothing abnormal in being gay. the animal kingdom has many examples. Here I want to stress on another point: being gay does not mean having sex with the same gender, but means loving someone from the same gender. and hence in the animal kingdom there are the penguins where two males formed a couple and took care of a baby penguin abandoned by its MOTHER and there are male flies who have sex with male flies (tho not fertile)

      I believe that God did not create these instances by chance, but to teach us acceptance, asexual reproduction is not ABNORMAL, it’s just another way. even for illnesses and anomalies people have stopped using the ABNORMAL term since it is full of hatred and discrimination, as a MOTHER you should start doing that Nare, not for ur sake, but for ur children.

      I do not want to sound rude but I do not need you to take care of me. as I stated above and in my previous article I am very manly and I am not afraid to fight the enemy; I work out daily and have rather good knowledge of weaponry.

      very soon I will earn my first phD and soon after several others. I am of good quality and most gays are of good quality.

      Regarding numbers; excuse this question, but how many children have you brought in to the Armenian race, how pure of breed are your parents? should we clence the Armenian race? how many Armenians will we have? how many do we need to increase the population? each couple should raise 3 children? 4? 5? 6? 10?…? how many does a muslim turk raise from each wife…?

      we all have to ask ourselves these questions and we all have to think and act for the benefit and survival of our race and culture.

      I am sorry Nare but the truth is that your son might possibly be gay, and the more you pressure and make sure he’s not, the more you’re torturing him. During my teenage years I asked my mother (during an argument) what would have she done if she found out that her son was gay, first answer was “I’d kill him” second answer was “i’d try to fix him” I wanted to ask her “fix what exactly…?” but I had to run to the toilet coz I couldn’t hold back my tears. (yes men cry, it doesn’t make them less men)

      Regarding the deviation of gays from the Armenian culture and identity. Some Armenian gays are not interested in the Armenian identity as a whole. WHY? I have spent fair amounts of time understanding this complexity and it is mainly due to discrimination, they see the Armenian identity as a close minded Oz who wants to kill them and by instinct they distant themselves from everything Armenian. On this path they try to merge in with other “more” accepting societies and adapt to other cultures and in this confusion and lack of Armenian education they become like Tzomag! here I should also add that inversely many active members in my close Armenian Society are gays with hidden identities.

      Nare to understand what gay means, take my example. I do not have sex with random guys, nor do i endulge myself in orgies. I have a boyfriend with whom I’ve been for 6 years now. I’m 27 years old and my boyfriend is 25. he is also Armenian and manly ;)

      we go to church together every Sunday (refer to my other post about how the bible is misinterpreted) I would marry him if I had the chance. the gays who focus on sex are victims of ur hatred; since they are brain washed that gay love does not exist.

  14. Let me add my feeble voice to those who applaud the author, and who deplore violence against the activist in Yerevan.

    For those of you who are eager to attack the gay orientation as sinful, you should be reminded that even the Catholic Church disagrees with you. The Church allows men and women with the orientation to serve the Church as Priests and Nuns.

    For those of you who attack fornication, gay or straight, do you also believe that those who engage in such practices are less Armenian than you? I wasn’t aware that private activity destroys ethnicity or citizenship. Let’s remember that Gays do not have the option to marry.

    Do you remember the story about the woman found in adultery, who was about to be stoned to death? What did Jesus say to the crowd? What is he saying to us?

    You attack the Gay way of life as contrary to the healthy Armenian way of life. I have no idea what either standard means.

    I do know that we cannot lose anyone from our “small tribe of unimportant people” who loves Armenians and Armenian culture andhistory..

    I have heard that
    if you are not blonde and blue eyed, you are not a real Armenian, if you do not speak, read and write Armenian, you are not a real Armenian, that if you are not Apostolic, you are not a real Armenian, if you come from formerly Communist Hayasdn you are not a real Armenian [!], if you speak Eastern, or Western, or Turkish, you are not a real Armenian.

    Soon we will be down to 10 elderly people.

    We all have our opinions about various issues, including Gay rights, marriage equality etc. There is no Armenian or anti Armenian opinion in the wide spectrum of thought and belief on these issues.

    • Here’s what Jesus said to the woman’s accusers AND to the woman herself…

      John 8:4-11

      New Living Translation (NLT)

      4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

      6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but LET THE ONE WHO HAS NEVER SINNED THROW THE FIRST STONE!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

      9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

      11 “No, Lord,” she said.

      And Jesus said, “Neither do I. GO AND SIN NO MORE.”

    • Catholic Church considers homosexual acts contrary to natural law and sinful. The Church holds same-gender sexual activities to be incompatible with God’s plan: “Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” —”Catechism of the Catholic Church”, para. 2357 at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

      Private activity does not destroy ethnicity or citizenship, but if made public or legally endorsed, it does affect moral foundations of a society and fundamentals of a traditional human family. I think gay “way of life”, apart from being sinful, is contrary to the healthy Armenian way of life first of all because of the threat it poses to the traditional Armenian family.

      Yes, we remember the parable about the woman found in adultery. In John 8: 3-11 Jesus said to the crowd who were about to stone her: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Do you remember what Jesus said to the woman? Apparently, and conveniently, not: “And Jesus said to her: neither do I condemn you; go and sin NO MORE.”

    • God give to guy heterosexual feeling and this guy can have a girl and be married and have child and this his life. Lets do children of your choice. But its not mean that every guy should have this children process. We not robots. We all must understand that we all HUMAN and WE ALL DIFFER. We must be differ in process of thinking, eating, interests, sexual feelings and etc, in order the life be interesting and in order we can be HUMAN BEINGS.

    • avatar Random Armenian // May 31, 2012 at 8:57 am //

      Karo, “is contrary to the healthy Armenian way of life first of all because of the threat it poses to the traditional Armenian family.”

      People keep saying this but no one is explaining how someone’s gay lifestyle impacts me negatively. It’s always expressed as a truism but never explained how.

    • avatar Boyajian // May 31, 2012 at 10:40 am //

      Karo and Linda, your points are well taken.

      By all means “Go and sin no more,” applies to everyone.

      But do you think open homosexuality is anymore destructive to Armenian family life than drunkenness, neglect, fornication, abuse, violence, lying, stealing, and civil corruption? I don’t. All these things are “incompatible with God’s plan.”

      God’s plan (Greatest Commandment) for all people, including Armenians, is that we “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” To me this is like God saying, “Focus on getting your relationship with Me right and treat everyone else with kindness.”

      Jesus didn’t condemn; he instructed, and then he made the ultimate sacrifice so that ALL sinners could find the way to redemption.

      What makes homosexuality such a threat? It isn’t a ‘disease’ one can catch. It isn’t new to Armenia or the world. It hasn’t suddenly ‘caught on.’

      Acceptance and love for the ‘sinner’ isn’t the same as encouraging the sin. It is merely the posture a Christian takes in the face of any sin because none of us is worthy of ‘throwing the first stone,’ let alone the first molitov cocktail.

      Does this mean ‘anything goes.’ Of course not. But in a democratic society, one cannot discriminate against another on the basis of their sexual orientation, religion or nationality.

      Does this mean you can’t speak against it if you believe it is wrong? Of course not. But it does mean you have no right to condemn anyone…lest ye be judged.

    • avatar Hay Arou // June 1, 2012 at 3:06 am //

      “The references to ‘homosexuality’ in the NT hinge on the interpretation of two specific Greek words, arsenokoitēs (ἀρσενοκοίτης) and malakos (μαλακός).While it is not disputed that the two Greek words concern sexual relations between men (and possibly between women) some academics interpret the relevant passages as a prohibition against pederasty or prostitution rather than homosexuality per se”
      Myself I believe that God wanted us to love Him and our neighbour and He did not discriminate our neighbours based on gender.
      The passages that “condemn” homosexuality in the Bible are very vague and I have read them in many languages and understood what I already (naturally) believed in; i.e., Promiscuity is a sin. Sleeping with men can be a sin as it is sleeping with women; but loving men is not a sin, as loving women is not. so for me as a gay man I would have been equally sinfull if I were straight, since then instead of the men I sleep with, I would’ve slept with women, which is equally sinfull.
      Furthermore, the bible has many instances where men have loved men, such as David and Jonathan.

      Thank you Enger Apo for this motivating article and your reply on my first comment (at first I was hesitant to comment but thanks to the internet I am able to hide my identity). I am aware that by coming out I would be happier and undergo self-awakening at a personal level and influence positively bypassing friends who feel the same way, but I still believe it is early and perhaps your immediate society is more accepting than mine.
      I have tried and still try to come out gradually to different individuals, but the feedback I get are not assuring; e.g., a month back I came out to a friend, with whom I had been close for five years now, at first he pretended to be accepting and said that “it’s cool” and that we all have our preferences, but after a while his attitude changed and became “…but God doesn’t accept you…”, “…but it’s not healthy…”, “…have you tried sex with women?…”, “…wouldn’t you like to change…”, “…I don’t think it’s natural…”… and thus we distanced ourselves and today we barely talk.

    • It is obvious to most of the people—believers or not—that the natural family, marriage, and birth and nurturing of children are inalienably linked to each other. Artificial separation of the birth and rearing of children from the natural family, family life, and marriage leads to the destruction of any society, including the traditionalist Armenian society. The traditional family, endorsed by God, inscribed in human nature and based on the voluntary union of a Man and a Woman in a covenant of marriage, intended for the birth and upbringing of children, is the natural and fundamental unit of any human society.

    • Hay Arou,

      “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” –1 Samuel 18:1-5

      The friendship of David and Jonathan was totally NON-SEXUAL. It was the effect of Divine grace, which produces in true believers one heart and one soul, and causes them to love each other. The same forcible phrase occurs of Jacob’s love for Benjamin (marginal reference). Jonathan’s truly heroic character is shown in this generous love of David, and admiration of his great deed.

      We need to read the Bible in a non-perverted way.

    • avatar Hay Arou // June 7, 2012 at 6:40 am //

      Karo perhaps you did not read well, I extracted the paragraph in which I mention David, please try to understand what one is saying before you answer them next time…

      Hay Arou: “Sleeping with men can be a sin as it is sleeping with women; but loving men is not a sin, as loving women is not. so for me as a gay man I would have been equally sinfull if I were straight, since then instead of the men I sleep with, I would’ve slept with women, which is equally sinfull.
      Furthermore, the bible has many instances where men have loved men, such as David and Jonathan.”

      and to this you answered “The friendship of David and Jonathan was totally NON-SEXUAL” … “We need to read the Bible in a non-perverted way.” could you please show me in my paragraph the part which gave you the impression that I read the Bible in a perverted way?

      I have intentionally put David’s example in context with LOVE to show that being gay does not mean porno… and that the Bible does not consider loving a man a sin; on the contrary it promotes any kind of love.

  15. avatar Kate Nahapetian // May 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm // Reply

    Great article Apo!

    To tell an LGBT person to keep their identity private, so as not to “offend” others is like telling an Armenian minority in the Diaspora to hide and suppress their Armenian identity and language from the public view, so as not to “offend” the dominant culture’s sensibilities. Both are unacceptable.

    The LGBT community is also not trying to force anything on the straight community. They are simply demanding their rights to be treated equally – to not be denied their civil rights, a job, or the many legal and monetary benefits of marriage, because of their identity. They are demanding that they not be forced to hide who they are for fear of harassment, violence, or discrimination.

    We gain a false sense of Armenian strength, when we suppress the minorities within our community.

  16. avatar Preston Bagrationi // May 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm // Reply

    Sako, shame on you. Who are you to judge? Armenians, like any other race, have the beautiful combination of straights and gays. How do you measure ethical or moral standards? What do you call those “straight” Armenians who betrayed Armenia throughout our history? Science has proven again and again that people are born straight or gay. I am a straight Armenian male, do Not believe in God, but I do believe that gays have the right to love and get married. End of story. And any Armenian who follows these bankrupt “moral” standards, wake up..most of the evil, killings, muggings, betrayals and others are committed by………Surprise….STRAIGHT people. Apraham is More Armenian that you and I combined with other 100,000 Armenians.
    Dear Apraham, I wish you the best in life, hope you find your other half and live a happy and productive life. And remember, No one, and I mean No one can take the love that you have for our Armenian people. That is All that matters to me as an Armenian.
    Preston Bagrationi

  17. Good Job Apo.

    as Armenians, we know what its like to be the victims of discrimination, we cannot afford to discriminate amongst ourselves. our strength lies in our diversity.

  18. avatar craigprophet // June 4, 2012 at 9:10 am // Reply

    We need more and more articles like this to help all the young, struggling Armenians who are repressed in their homes, churches and youth groups to come out and face the truth from INSIDE our society.
    The earlier we have role models to inspire us, the more we openly educate our youth by describing how great Armenians like Paradjanov, Charents, Vahan Tekeyan to name a few, were homosexual AND Armenian to the core, the more our society will benefit.

  19. After reading all of these articles I think it is time for our young gay armenians to join in the gay pride parades of Los angeles and New York city forming a separate group in the parade with a banner reading ” armenian gays are coming out ” . And by the way ,the gays in Armenia are not decaying and
    destroying Armenia. It is the corrup rats in the government who are destroying Armenia.

  20. avatar Levon Avdoyan // June 4, 2012 at 2:28 pm // Reply

    It really is quite a paradox. Gays are not supposed to be strong; they are supposed to be cowards; they are not supposed to have any integrity or moral center. I defy anyone, however, to equal the strength, integrity and morality it takes to come out and live openly as a LGBT. And my definition of stupidity? To do something which runs counter to the greater and even your good. Tell me: how many more educated, patriotic, and skilled people can Hayastan afford to lose? But my intent is not to argue but merely to congratulate the author, to tell him and others both in and out of the closet that you are not alone, and to promise that if you lose your families, you have a host of brothers and sisters to whom you can turn. And as to the haters and other idiots who do not accept you: their loss. Attention must not be paid.

    • The discussion here is focused not on “haters and other idiots who do not accept [homosexuality]” but on whether or not this amoral behavior is compatible with God’s plan and judgment and whether or not legalization of gay marriage and adoption of children affect the fabric of a traditionalist Armenian family and society on the whole. Tell me how these serious concerns suit your definition of “stupidity”? “Attention must not be paid” to the difference of opinions? Is this all that you got from the notion of democratic society in which all of us are members?

  21. God’s law condemns homosexuality. Biblical morality makes it perfectly clear that It is a sin to engage in such acts. People who have this disorder must seek a cure. It is curable as Dr. Nicolosi in California has demonstrated. People with these tendencies cannot act on them but must live chaste lives just like heterosexual persons. To be Armenian is to be Christian–to imitate Christ and obey God’s teachings and commandments, not to justify immorality. While the tendency is a disorder caused by many psychological factors, it is not biological.
    While the orientation is not in itself sinful, pursuing such a lifestyle leads to great misery and guilt. So many psychologists who have dealt with this problem explain all the suffering that goes with this addiction.

    • Pure comedic gold. Thank you.

    • God said to heterosexuals not act homosexuality in order have a children. But God not said about guys in homosexual feelings. This very different things. God can’t forbid that what is natural and what need to be used. You not search and not understand about homosexual feeling and please not comment if you don’t know. Homosexuality is not unhealthy, is healthy because in homosexual feeling existed love feeling also.

  22. SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California State Senate approved a bill designed to limit the ability of mental health providers in California to engage in dangerous sexual orientation change efforts (sometimes referred to as “ex-gay therapy,” “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”).

    If approved by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu and co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California, Gaylesta, and Lambda Legal, would make California the first state in the nation to ban licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts of any kind for a minor patient, regardless of a parent’s willingness or desire to authorize participation in such programs.

    “Being lesbian or gay or bisexual is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder,” Lieu said. “The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”

    Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. For minors, who are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don’t know, or don’t believe, the practice is harmful, the risks of long-term mental and physical health consequences are particularly severe.

    “Too many young people have taken their own lives or suffered lifelong harm after being told, falsely, by a therapist or counselor that who they are is wrong, sick or the result of personal or moral failure,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.

    “Legislative action is long overdue to end the abuse of sexual orientation change efforts and for the state to fulfill its duty to protect consumers — especially youth — from therapeutic misconduct.”

    In 2007, the American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task force conducted an intensive review of peer-reviewed studies and concluded that efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.

    The American Psychiatric Association published a position statement in March of 2000 in which it states that it “opposes any psychiatric treatment such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder.”

    Recognizing that there is no credible evidence that any type of “therapy” can change a person’s sexual orientation and that sexual orientation change efforts may cause serious and lasting harms, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists have also issued cautionary position statements on sexual orientation change efforts.

    Recently, Dr. Robert Spitzer, the author of a study often cited by proponents to validate sexual orientation change efforts as a legitimate therapeutic practice, redacted the study and issued a formal apology to the LGBT community.

    Senate Bill 1172 is part of a broader effort on the part of Equality California in 2012 to protect and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

    Another legislative initiative, Assembly Bill 1856, which was approved by California Assembly, will increase safety for and improve the emotional well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth in foster care by creating cultural competency standards that must be met by any foster homes housing LGBT youth.

  23. Karo: “Catholic Church considers homosexual acts contrary to natural law and sinful.” So what? Why does it matter what the Catholic Church considers sinful? At one time they told little children they would burn in purgatory for eating a hamburger on Friday. It was straight to hell for 8 year olds who missed confession. You were advised to open your purse and buy some indulgences for your grandmother who was trapped in purgatory. Epileptics were deemed possessed by the devil. Now it’s gays who are sinful. This too shall pass.
    You said: “I think gay “way of life”, is contrary to the healthy Armenian way of life first of all because of the threat it poses to the traditional Armenian family.”
    How exactly has their way of life ever harmed a single family?
    You said: “…that the natural family, marriage, and birth and nurturing of children are inalienably linked to each other.” Well, I guess every hetero over a “certain age” who decides to get married, (or not) had better immediately quit having sex since they can’t produce a couple of dumplings. Sob, sob.

  24. Hay Arou: You can get legally married anywhere in Canada, and then continue on with a romantic honeymoon.
    I find it ironical that many anti-gays are wearing fashionable animal print clothing. Nothing is funnier than seeing the design of beautiful giraffe spots on clothing worn by hate mongers. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15750604/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/gay-animals-out-closet/ or go on Wikipedia, or dozens of other sites to see where the inspiration for many current clothing patterns came from, often designed by the gays in the fashion industry.

  25. First of all in the catholic church 70 to 75 % of the priest are homosexuals.The catholic church was a good hide out for gay guys.And the Armenian church I
    would say 50 to 60% of our Vartabeds are homosexuals.
    And by the way men created God ,God did not create men.The Psycology
    and philosophy of religion was created by men to be able to control the masses of people.Homosexuality was here from the time of the
    Hellenic empire and ,thru the Roman empire.If that was a sickness it would have been cured by now.

  26. So, Richard, if it’s true that 70 to 75% of Catholic priests and 50 to 60% of Apostolic vartabeds are homosexuals (where did you get these frightening figures, by the way?), then homosexuality ceases to be an abomination in the sight of God? What’s your point? It is equally sinful of gays and of some clerics or anyone else.

    Where did you read that God did not create men? Has it been scientifically proven that men was created and evolved from an ape? Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and worldviews that relate mankind to spirituality and moral values, not to the control of the masses.

    Hellenic and Roman empires were polytheistic, pagan societies and yes, homosexuality was there. But it wasn’t in Judea, an ancient monotheistic society encompassing Abrahamic traditions, beliefs, and practices or in ancient China where Buddhism was a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices based on teachings of the Buddha or in Arabia where Islam revealed and elucidated masses through the teachings and practices of Muhammad. What’s your point?

    “If that was a sickness it would have been cured by now.” Many mental and psychological deviations, IF homosexuality is one, have not been cured. Cancer, not a mental deviation, too, hasn’t been cured. What’s your point?

  27. First of all I applaud you for writing this article. I think it’s time that people realize that being gay/homosexual is part of life. It doesn’t matter which way you swing at the end of the day if you’re Armenian you will remain one by birth.

    This is an issue in Armenia as well as Armenian communities abroad and it’s not something that is acceptable by majority. Tolerance, respect and understanding is the key element and it’s something that is paramount not to drive homosexual Armenians away from our small conservative Armenian communities. Some say Armenia and Armenians are not ready for homosexuality but the question is when will they be ready?

  28. I was with one guy in outside and I take his hand and hug him and others saw us but nothing said. Because normal and respectful person understand other personality and never will attack. I’m happy that in Armenia existed normal and respectful persons.

  29. Yerevan Municipality gave a solution in order in pillars, in buildings were no posters, advertisements about work in order was purely on poles, on buildings. Municipality put in outside board advertisement in order the announcements, advertisements be there. This is still a new solution and it was written on the board announcement.

    Human Rights working about homophobic posters in Jrvezh.
    But sign about petitions about homophobic poster in whole Yerevan is continue and one about hate too. This all signatures will be sent to Human Rights and they will work with it.

    Please continue sign this petitions in order be collected much signatures and also send to others.

    Thank you

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Hargank_mardkants_nkatmamb_Respect_all_people_Uvazhenie_k_lyudyam/

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/%D5%A5%D6%80%D5%A5%D6%82%D5%A1%D5%B6%D5%AB-%D6%84%D5%A1%D5%B2%D5%A1%D6%84%D5%A1%D5%BA%D5%A5%D5%BF%D5%A1%D6%80%D5%A1%D5%B6-municipality-of-yerevan-%D0%BC%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%82-%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D5%B0%D5%A1%D6%80%D5%A3%D5%A1%D5%B6%D6%84-%D5%B4%D5%A1%D6%80%D5%A4%D5%AF%D5%A1%D5%B6%D6%81-%D5%B6%D5%AF%D5%A1%D5%BF%D5%B4%D5%A1%D5%B4%D5%A2-respect-all-people-%D1%83%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%BA-%D0%BB%D1%8E%D0%B4%D1%8F%D0%BC

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-government-of-armenia-honor-the-constitutional-right-of-each-citizen

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