LGBTnews talked with Double World Weightlifting Champion and record holder, double world bronze medallist Mel Daluzyan, who has been living in Amsterdam for already a year, about the state of transgender rights in Armenia. Let us remind that the Dutch government granted political asylum to the famous sportsman.
– Mel, how would you describe the state of LGBTI rights generally and particularly that of transgender people in Armenia?
– If I describe it in one word, I would say – catastrophic. There is a large-scale homophobia and transphobia at the state level in Armenia. This means that hate propaganda policy is being carried out at the highest level; about which, by the way, a number of international and local reputable human rights and political organizations are stating in their reports and announcements. Moreover, this is legitimate: according to the assessments of the same international organizations, today Armenia is considered an authoritarian state, that is, the power is captured from the people.
It is clear that the invaders spread hatred and enmity in the society so that they could divide and dominate. As all the citizens, LGBTI people are like hostages. Based on false ideological doctrines, the corrupted regime directly and indirectly targets specifically LGBTI people, and as a result, they are the most vulnerable group in Armenia.
– Which are the main problems of transgender people?
– There is no sphere where transgenders do not have problems. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully violated. Though the Constitution proclaims the principle of equality of all and the principle of non-discrimination, everyone knows this does not work. Even there are no formal laws, which would at least give an opportunity to try fighting legally.
– There is no anti-discriminatory law, there is no any mechanism regulating gender change process of transgender people, there is no opportunity for same-sex unions and marriages, there is nothing. There is a large legal gap, a legislative black hole, and as a result, there are many uncertain problems, which do not have solution. In parallel, I have already mentioned that we have a consistent and intentional homophobic and transphobic policy. In short, on the one hand, there are no laws and there is a political persecution on the other.
–And from the third side there is public homophobia and transphobia…
– Yes, the majority of our society has negative attitude towards LGBTI people, but what has resulted this? This is the result of the fact that the anti-democratic regime not only has not done anything to ensure the values proclaimed by the Constitution, but it has done exactly the opposite. The fact that the employer fires transgenders is both a political and a legal issue, or is it an everyday conflict? The fact that a transgender student is discriminated at university is also a political and a legal issue. When LGBTI people are being harassed, their rights are violated and the so-called law enforcement officials absolutely do nothing, or is our neighbour Marus responsible? Those who are in power are responsible for it, for this disgraceful situation.
And, by the way, the United States, the European states, providing political asylum to Armenian LGBTI people, once more officially confirm that a consistent homophobic, transphobic policy is being carried out in Armenia, and that LGBTI people are being persecuted in Armenia by the authorities.
– In this situation, what should be done to protect human rights and dignity?
– In the large sense, the power should be returned to people. Unfortunately, it does not happen quickly and at once. At this moment, the evolutionary path remains. And thus – to impose, to pressure the government, cooperating with international and local influential structures as well, to force them firstly to eliminate the big legal gap, to adopt laws stemming from the Constitution and international commitments, consistently suppress them to stop the policy of hate propaganda working with wide layers of the society at the same time.
-It is very important to differentiate between the ineffective game with the regime and making changes through pressures. Moreover, to exert pressure, one must be strong and influential. Therefore, self-organization and strengthening of the community is also important.
-What is your message for LGBTI people and especially for transgenders?
-Although I am not in Armenia now, I am with you. Do not be distressed and broken.