Homosexuality in Armenia was decriminalized in 2003. While homophobia in the country still persists there are few open gays in the country, they prefer to hide their orientation from society.
In recent research, more than half of respondents would refuse to have friendship with a man if they would knew he is gay. Up to 70% of Armenians consider homosexuality “A strange phenomenon.” In the list of 50 European countries from point of view of development rights of LGBT Armenia is ranked 47th place in front of Azerbaijan and Russia. Youth of Armenia also hold conservative views on this topic.
According to other researches, 93.8% of 1,017 respondents said they did not want seeing homosexuals walking the streets holding hands, and 97.5% are against seeing how they are kissing in the streets.
Despite this, in 2017, Armenia became the second Asian country in history, which started to accept homosexual marriages concluded abroad.
The goal of the movement is to attract extra attention to the problem of sexual minorities of Armenia and influence the rejection of local society in order to expand and protecting the rights of LGBT people in the country.
The situation evolving in connection with legislative initiatives and public attitudes regarding so-called “propaganda of homosexuality” in some countries of Eastern Europe has concern. This is particularly about Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine, since it is in these countries this topic is most relevant. In these (and other) countries, LGBTQ people either have already become or may become victims of similar laws that will affect their lives not only in the legal sphere. No less, if not more alarming are public sentiments regarding to LGBTQ people and communities. Homophobia, intolerance, infringement of the rights and freedom of relationship and speech are the norm today.
The cancellation of the 11th Eastern European LGBT Christian Forum scheduled in Yerevan is a direct result of the distorted public perception of community programs and values, aggravated by the authorities' inability and unwillingness to use all levers to ensure the safety of participants in these and similar events. At the same time, when representatives of LGBTQ communities carry out explanatory work, this is declared as “propaganda” and leads to a hostile, sometimes irreconcilable attitude.
Nevertheless, we do not lose hope. Moreover, we are sure that, as in the societies free from prejudice and inertia, rather sooner than late justice in Armenia will prevail and mutual understanding will be established among all members of society. To do this, you just need to understand that LGBTQ people are not enemies of society, they are part of it, and they share the same aspirations, hopes and problems.
The difference is seen only by minds blighted with prejudice.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people in Armenia face with discrimination on every step. Violations of their rights by society, family, authorities, and even law enforcement agencies are common occurrence. According to opinion polls, 90-95% of society feel that LGBTQ people and organizations are unacceptable. They are refused in families, in educational institutions, they are often rejected by employers.
At the same time, expressing their position, explaining their values to the same society, reaching to the public mind is almost impossible, any attempt is blocked. The latest example is the abolition of the 11th LGBT Christian Forum in Yerevan, scheduled for mid-November. The official reason for the refusal of the authorities is very eloquent: the law enforcement agencies cannot guarantee the order and safety of the participants.
This is a direct result of the pressure of obstinate public opinion. That is why many LGBTQ people hide their identity from society. Perhaps it helps them to live calmer, but this kind of affairs inevitably leads to isolation, to insecurity, to stress and depression. Therefore, a significant number of cases of emigration was only because of their belongings to the LGBTQ community: if they were treated normally, as it is customary in countries with a civilized perception of such delicate things, they would not have thought about emigration.
However, the situation is far from hopeless, and new hopes are connected with the new government in Armenia, which declared equality of all by the law and proclaimed the abolition of any kind of discrimination, including on the basis of sexual preferences. It is not easy to overcome the resistance of a society blinded by stereotypes of medieval thinking, but work must be done and it is being done.
We associate considerable hopes with the new Armenian government - the younger, and therefore less susceptible to the influence of stereotypes and patterns, free in the perception of the world in all its complex diversity. Dealing with a radically homophobic society is difficult, but there is no other
way, as a consistent and persistent explanation, presentation of logical arguments, appeal to the mind and sense of justice - both collective and individual.
We are hopeful and confident that very soon in Armenia, as in the advanced societies of the planet, people belonging to the LGBTQ community will be able to realize the right for freedom of speech and assembly in accordance with international legal acts and legal acts of the Republic of Armenia. Armenian society and politicians will soon come to understanding of one simple truth: expressions and actions that provoke violence and generate hatred, discredit the honor, dignity and reputation of a person, whatever social group it belongs to are unacceptable in their speeches and campaigns.
We are sure that Armenia will soon get rid of such an ugly phenomenon as homophobia.