Avoiding violence doesn’t prove you are not-homophobic: Armine Danielyan

LGBTI persons are becoming more visible over the years; they speak about their problems more and much more people in the society state about not being homophobic. However, according to Armine Danielyan the link between LGBTI and non-LGBTI people doesn’t get closer.

As soon as you speak about LGBTI person’s life and natural phenomena next to people who consider themselves non-homophobic, they immediately display a homophobic behavior; sometimes automatically.

According to Armine Danielyan, expressing willingness not to violate or “burn” LGBTI persons doesn’t really mean you are not homophobic.

Armine is the daughter of human rights defender Miqayel Danielyan. She confesses she would never probably be interested in LGBTI persons and wouldn’t be aware of their problems if her father and brother weren’t human rights defenders.

At the moment Armine is trying to establish close connections between LGBTI and not LGBTI communities through literature.

“I tried to find a common sphere for LGBTI and not LGBTI people, and came up with the idea that literature could be “common” for them”. The first book I came across with and with which I imagined implementation of a project was “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides”, – said Armine Danielyan in her interview with LGBTInews.

Afterwards Armine’s project was implemented and “Colorful Reading” project was created. It aims to present foreign literature referring to LGBTI problems in Armenian Language.

The first book reading of “Colorful Literature” was held in Yerevan yesterday. During the event some parts from “Middlesex” and “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin were presented.

When Armine started translating Pulitzer Prize winning novel “Middlsex”, she gave the book to her friends to read. According to Armine, they somehow corresponded to the definition of “homophobe”.

“And for a wonder, they were curious to know what would happen to the hero, why it happened so…”, – Armine tells.

The protagonist of “Middlesex” is Calliope (later called Cal), who finally realizes why they are  different from the other girls. 

Afterwards their parents try to “treat” their child, as they call it, by a little medical intervention. However it doesn’t happen so.

“I left my skirts and my Fair Isle sweater in the dresser drawers. I packed only the darker garments a blue crew neck, the alligator shirts, and my corduroys. The brassiere I abandoned, too. For the time being, I held on to my socks and panties, and I tossed in my toiletry case entire. When I was finished, I searched in Milton’s garment bag for the cash he’d hidden there. The wad was fairly large and came to nearly three hundred dollars. It wasn’t all Dr. Luce’s fault. I had lied to him about many things. His decision was based on false data. But he had been false in turn. On a piece of stationery, I left a note for my parents.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know you’re only trying to do what’s best for me, but I don’t think anyone knows for sure what’s best. I love you and don’t want to be a problem, so I’ve decided to go away. I know you’ll say I’m not a problem, but I know I am. If you want to know why I’m doing this, you should ask Dr. Luce, who is a big liar! I am not a girl. I’m a boy. That’s what I found out today. So I’m going where no one knows me. Everyone in Grosse Pointe will talk when they find out.

Sorry I took your money, Dad, but I promise to pay you back someday, with interest.

Please don’t worry about me. I will be ALL RIGHT!

Despite its content, I signed this declaration to my parents: “Callie.”

It was the last time I was ever their daughter.”, – Armine Danielyan read a little part from the novel.

“Middlesex” will probably be published next year and will be available free of charge.

The next novel to be read was “Giovanni’s Room” by James Baldwin. It is one of the best novels investigating the sexuality of a man. The book focuses on the events in the life of an American man. Trying to understand his sexual identity, he lives dual life with his bride and an Italian barman.

The “Colorful reading” is going to be continuous. Other LGBTI novels will be read further as well.

As stated by Armine, they are trying to find out which genres of novels are more influential and touchy for the readers.

The project of “Colorful Reading” elaborated by “A & M publishing house” was funded by European Union in the frameworks of “Solidarity Network for LGBTI in Armenia and Georgia” project implemented with the cooperation of Heinrich Böll Foundation South Caucasus Regional Office and Society without Violence (SWV) NGO.