I don’t keep silence, I just talk back: “Queer monologues” in Yerevan

 Yesterday a group of women stood on the stage in one of the clubs in Yerevan to tell about their or other’s queer stories. On the occasion of International Day of homophobia and transphobia, “Society Without Violence” NGO organized the “Queer monologue” performance.

Under “Gutan” music by Inga and Anush Arshakyans, one after another, queer, lesbian, bisexual and trans women went to the stage and told about their life stories, how they fell in love, their first sexual experience, difficulties of being lesbian, bisexual, trans or asexual in Armenia, their resistance and about a lot more other experiences which aren’t usually talked about in the Armenian society.

“You are reduced to silence, -you reduce to silence, -I don’t keep silence (I talk back), Talk Back. You are ruled, -you rule, I resist (re-sist), -who am I? If I do not want to be a bride, there is no place for me, -me … ellipsis (ellipses), dot… dot… dot…”, – this is a part from one of the participant’s monologue.

“I wrote the texts earlier. They weren’t related with the monologue, but with queer phenomenon. They speak about “queerness” and represent my opinion on how I see the world, how I imagine my resistance and my lifestyle”, – she mentions.

She tells that she wrote one of the texts with stormy emotions and it might be the reason why she got mixed up for a moment on the stage. “I think mistakes are also very important so that people realize it’s normal to make mistakes, it’s usual for humans. And I believe it’s a part of queerness so that they come out of heteronormativity and never think it’s misfortune to make mistakes”.

She believes such events are of great importance since few people in Armenia are aware of queer phenomenon. “The term “Queer” is often seen especially on the Internet and I think it’s worth explaining how it is linked with LGBT issues, how political it is and who queer people are, what they feel and what kind of life they live”.

In the interview with us the head of “Society Without Violence” NGO Lida Minasyan mentioned that the aim of the performance was to raise the visibility of lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. “As lesbian, bisexual women and transgender persons are a little less visible in LGBT community and there is more need at the moment to speak about their problems, we made up our mind to organize “Queer monologues” performance, where true stories of lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were presented. Even the ones which were presented a bit more artistically were real stories as well”.  

According to Lida Minasyan “Queer monologues” performance is an exchange of experiences of queer people’s problems, difficulties and successes as well as daily episodes of their lives. As “We are linked together” is the slogan of our IDAHOT week, the main message is that we are all linked together in the society and we are next to people. Maybe some people aren’t aware of us, but we exist”. 

“I was born as a transgender in a wrong body. I dream of having surgery and living as a woman”, -this is how one of the participants of the performance started her speech. She spoke anxiously about her experiences and difficulties of living as a transgender in Armenia as well as about living under threat.

“It’s quite hard to stand on the stage and talk about what people usually treat negatively. I would like to give the emotional and mental part of this phenomenon to people and not what they can usually see by appearance. That is why I wanted to present to people how I really live and feel”,- she said in the interview with LGBTnews.