On Fri., April 5, the Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) presents “Dealing with Difference,” a talk by Nancy Agabian and Nelli Sargsyan-Pittman on creative and documentary approaches to LGBT Armenian issues, at The Center in New York.
In May 2012, in Yerevan, two self-identified neo-fascist youths firebombed the gay-friendly bar DIY, and a mob of young protesters attacked a peaceful diversity march several weeks later. Many in the Armenian-American community were dismayed by these acts of hatred in their homeland, but others expressed homophobic sentiments, as evidenced by articles and online comments. The AGLANY event will shed light on some of the roots, causes, and effects of homophobia and intolerance towards difference in both Armenia and its diaspora. It also promises to start a reflective conversation on how to effect positive change in both these spheres.
Nancy Agabian is an author, performer, and teacher. Her memoir, Me as her again, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and a William Saroyan International Writing Prize, casts her queer coming-of age within her Armenian-American family history. A Fulbright scholar to Armenia from 2006-07, she is currently working on a creative nonfiction book about the intersections of family, tradition, nationalism, and corruption in post-Soviet Armenia. She will read and discuss excerpts related to LGBT issues and tolerance from this work-in-progress.
Nelli Sargsyan-Pittman, a native of Yerevan, Armenia, is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the State University of New York at Albany. She is currently completing her dissertation, which examines translocally-oriented Armenian queer artistic activism and the diverse ways in which men and women negotiate their ethnic and sexual difference in the Armenian-American diaspora. She will present some of her findings on gay, lesbian, and queer experiences in the U.S. diaspora by reading and discussing excerpts from the interviews she conducted with her research participants.
Noted writer, translator, and filmmaker Christopher Atamian will moderate the discussion. Atamian served as president of AGLA NY in 2007 and 2008, and currently sits on its Board of trustees.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at The Center, 208 West 13th Street, Room 310, in New York. It is free and open to the public.
Since 1998, AGLA NY has been providing space for lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender Armenian-Americans, their partners, and their allies to come together as a community. It seeks to inform Armenian communities, as well as the general public, about issues of importance to LGBT Armenians and LGBT Armenian-Americans. For more information, visit http://aglany.org.