“We campaign for tolerance, solidarity and life without discrimination”, Mamikon Hovsepyan -“Pink Armenia” NGO executive director, talked on dismantling of LGBTI thematic advertising posters during “Urvagits” TV show of “Kentron” TV.
“We want anyone wishing happiness be able to achieve it, but not at the expense of others’ life and misfortune, but by his own efforts. My own and our organization’s message is that the rights of all humans should be respected, they should have their own safe area, and no one has the right to invade this safe area and harm the person”, – noted he.
To the TV show author Petros Ghazaryan’s assertion that the posters were not social advertisements but “homosexuality advertisement”, Mamikon answered, that the posters were campaign for tolerance and, regardless of a person’s status concerning to orientation, he/she has the right to be happy: “Whether a lonely granny or two ladies or a married couple with their children or a person with his/her dog is living in the neighboring house shouldn’t concern me: it’s his/her house, his/her life – tolerance is that I have my own life, he/she has his/her own life. Wishing or not wishing someone happiness should not depend on me, but today there are people in our society who decide what others need. No, sorry, you decide for yourself and stop entering others life and trying to interfere”.
The reporter continued to insist that the posters are “homosexual family propaganda”, which can result in the increase of their number in the society, as well as he questioned how the posters could help the spread of tolerance: “Why should people become more tolerant seeing these posters?”
“Nothing changes in one day: one day would be the poster, one day would be a conversation, one day he/she would meet with a homosexual who he/she did not think exists in his/her surroundings, would speak and understand that he/she also is a human, has his/her own life, would understand that sexual orientation does not matter in deciding whether communicating or not communicating with that person. As to propaganda, there are many studies, according to which LGBT people make up a small part of the society – this number is not increasing or decreasing over time: any video, cartoon, movie or poster cannot change person’s sexual orientation or gender identity”.
To the interpellation, that the Armenian society is not ready to see such posters, that LGBT people theirselves don’t want to voice their own concerns, Hovsepyan answered: “They want the organization to do it, they don’t want to reveal their name. Our actions come from the bottom, from the community. Every time we do needs assessment and take into account the opinions. People want the problems to be raised. There is a large mass of people who want their problems to be raised, and we are responsible for voicing their problems, as they are silent, they are not able to speak on their behalf, therefore we are responsible for voicing their problems in the society”.
Other issues of LGBT people have also been spoken during the program:
“First, is there any case when a person applied to court saying that he/she is fired from job because of homosexuality? I have not come across such cases. Second, who is finally beaten, that you say is beaten and tortured, which homosexual is beaten in our city during the last period? I have not seen such cases also, what oppressions are you talking about?”, – asked Petros Ghazaryan.
“The trust in police and judicial system is very low in Armenia. This is more vivid among vulnerable groups, because when they go to police, the police exposes double discrimination. There have been cases when I accompanied them to the police: scoff, taking from room to room, hearing the story and laughing, humiliating, and then, when the guilty side enters into dialogue with police, the oppressions against the victim start. Those cases are not publicized, because these persons are afraid to be revealed, he/she doesn’t want his/her relatives or others know about him/her – that is why you are not aware of such cases”.