LGBTI people should struggle for equal rights. Zhanna Alexanyan

LGBTnews continues the series of interviews with representatives of human rights organizations, and this time our interlocutor is Zhanna Alexanyan – “Journalists for Human Rights” NGO head.

– Mrs. Alexanyan, how do you assess LGBTI people rights state in Armenia?

– If we compare it, for example, with the state of last ten years, there are small positive changes. At that time, the violence against LGBTI people was incomparably more, and even the police itself had taken LGBTI persons to police departments only because they were representatives of that community. Now, there are almost no scandalous cases and brawls, there are organizations dealing with their problems, the public is more or less aware of their problems and does not have the same tough attitude towards them as many years ago. But, at the same time, I cannot say that LGBTI people are accepted among the wide layer of the society.

–And if we look at this in terms of human rights…Do LGBTI people have equal rights with others?

– No. That is a difficult issue. We can see equal rights for all people in civilized countries. Our society is not ready for that: maybe it takes time to treat equally to all the humans’ rights. In my opinion, LGBTI community should fight, try to be involved in the society and become a full member of it.

– Thus, in your opinion, aren’t LGBT people trying to get involved in the society, and if so, can we say that they are just as guilty as the society?

– The society is not ready to accept that group, but to accuse the society…It is the state, that does nothing to prepare the society, to make Armenia a democratic country, to invest democratic values in the society, to exercise the laws and respect human rights. Of course, I will blame the state. Naturally, LGBT people will also suffer from the absence of democratic values and the rule of law.

– In your opinion, will there be a time when LGBTI people have the right to marry in Armenia?

– I think, it’s too early to speak about their marriage in Armenia. This problem exists even in many civilized countries, and Armenia is not ready for homosexual marriages yet.  In my opinion, LGBTI people should fight to get equal rights, and the state should create favorable conditions considering the fact that the society accepts them with difficulty.

-You spoke about giving LGBTI persons equal opportunities with others, and a good example of it could be the adoption of such an anti-discriminatory law, which will strictly prohibit discriminations against LGBTI persons. Currently, the draft law on “Equality” is under development at the Ministry of Justice. From your viewpoint, should there be a provision prohibiting discrimination based on gender orientation and gender identity?

– I can clearly say that LGBTI people should have equal rights with everyone. The law should comply with international standards, conventions and the Constitution of Armenia. This law should establish equal rights for every person.