Think! This is not prohibited in Armenia yet. Mamikon Hovsepyan

Series of events continue to be held in Armenia connected to the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Today LGBTnews hosted the head of “Pink Armenia”, the leader of struggle for LGBTI people rights in Armenia Mamikon Hovsepyan.

  • Mamikon, what is your message to the Armenian society on this International Day?
  • The society is instilled fear based on frauds and imagination, as the awareness is not high, moreover, there is no sexual education. First, we should apply our rights, and instead of useless fears learn about sexuality and its components from the reliable sources. I advise all the citizens to THINK which is not prohibited in Armenia yet.
  • What message do you have to the LGBT community?
  • Difficulties, violations and abuse remain serious problems in the lives of LGBTI people. However, they should be stronger, not to lose hope and support each other. Disappointment and leaving the country are not solutions. We should tell our stories, let people know us as we are. We should fight for defending our rights, for equality.

Struggle is love, and love is life.

What are the most urgent issues of LGBT people rights that are prior for the community for the upcoming years?

– LGBTI community empowerment and awareness raising in the society are prior issues. The community with knowledge will eventually be able to form a struggle movement that will change the situation, will seek to equality and influence on decision makers. Informed society will be free form useless fears and won’t destroy people’s lives, but will strive to form a healthy and secure society.

On the one hand, according to Economist Intelligence Unit, Armenia is in the list of authoritarian countries, on the other hand, its among the union of countries distinguished by its homophobic anti-ideology – EEU member. That is to say, we have both internal and external hostile environment, plus the homophobia and transphobia set in the society. In the condition of these unfavorable factors , which direction, method or strategy to fight is the most effective one?

– The same authoritarian government is promoting to public homophobia and transphobia. This image would be different in case of having independent educational system and media. This is a tool in the authorities’ hand to distract the public from socio-economic, political problems and to deprive from right to vote. As war state with the neighboring country, so the creation of such situation, the spread of hatred and enmity within the country are beneficial for the authorities.

Thus, firstly, it is necessary to liberate the education system and create an independent and strong media sector. As the authoritarian government has taken away them from the people and uses for brainwash, so alternative information sources and educational platforms should be established. The public should be given an opportunity to analyze, think and discuss the data.

Critical thinking is the key element for people’s development and progress and the pledge to the collapse of authoritarian regime.

  • There are several NGOs in Armenia dealing with LGBTI people rights, including non-LGBTI NGOs. By what directions need to improve and refine their activities the NGOs?
  • Works of various NGOs are important in this sphere, and during the implementation of works and before them, it’s necessary to constantly hear LGBTI persons and work just for that community, and not for personal benefit or for the reports submitted to donor organizations.

Now, more work is being done in this area, but there is still a room to grow and develop. We should have our local agenda and not copy the example of other countries, as one thing can work well in Japan, Canada, or in India, but fail in Armenia.

“Pink Armenia” highlights the viewpoints of the community and grounds its all working strategy on the ideas drown from the community.

– What success do you want the community to reach in the issues of LGBTI rights until this day of the next year?

– I expect that this year ECHR will announce an important decision on DIY club two court cases (Oganezova against Armenia), which will have a great impact in the country.

First, I want the entrepreneurial spirit and entrepreneurship of LGBTI people to develop in Armenia. There are many innovative and creative persons in the community, and their potential should be used in the country, which will boost the country’s development, create new jobs and opportunities for all.