IDAHOBIT-2021: ISSUES, PROGRESS AND OPPORTUNITIES
May 17th is celebrated annually around the world as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Now – decades later many states of the world have improved their mechanisms of fighting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia creating a safe space for LGBTI people free from hatred and violence.
Each year on this day New Generation Humanitarian NGO organizes different events: flash mobs, meeting-discussions, press releases and conferences to mark this special day of fighting discrimination against LGBTI people and bring the public attention to the issues and problems of these people.
This year’s IDAHOBIT event was held in the form of a meeting-discussion under the title “LGBTI community in Armenia. Issues, progress and opportunities”.
Representatives of Diplomatic Missions in Armenia, international organizations, state agencies, local NGOs, community-based NGOs and LGBTI community, journalists, human rights defenders activists and other stakeholders participated in the event.
Sergey Gabrielyan, President of New Generation Humanitarian NGO opened the meeting expressing his gratitude to the guests for their participation in the event and highlighted the importance of dialogue among all stakeholders.
Next, the representatives of the diplomatic missions attending at the meeting – Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator for Armenia, John Gallagher, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Armenia, Elizabeth Kuhse, US Deputy Head of Mission, Jan Plesinger, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, George Monsanta, Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Armenia, Werner Thut, Deputy Ambassador of Switzerland to Armenia, Izabella Eriksson, Deputy Ambassador of Sweden to Armenia, Laura Fracassa, representative of the Embassy of Argentine Republic to Armenia – made welcoming speeches and confirmed the commitment of their missions to help and support at their best the elimination of stigma and discrimination. They also talked about the opportunities and projects that their institutions implement or envisage for LGBTI people and solution of their issues.
The guests of the meeting, including the representatives of the community had the opportunity to ask their questions to the representatives of the diplomatic missions and receive answers.
After the welcoming speeches, the floor was given to those people who had their pride stories to share with the audience. The participants of the discussion mentioned that they were proud with their identity and activity.
True, there had been times when different pressures had deprived them of their feeling of pride but they have overcome those difficulties.
Proud human rights defender Arman Sahakyan mentioned that he attaches great importance to the human rights protection of the most vulnerable groups of the Armenian society.
Proud transgender woman Seda Ghazaryan stated that trans* people are not accepted even by their families meanwhile the support of the family is highly important. She had passed through a lot of difficulties until she reached the point when she could accept herself and tell her story before everyone.
Nora Aghazaryan who proudly raises the awareness on LGBTI issues, mentioned that she uses all real life and online platforms to sensitize the society. Indeed, her free speech leads to hate speech and calls for violence towards her person, but that would not stop her.
Hmayak Avetisyan, the other participant of the discussion proudly advocates for the human rights protection of LGBTI people.
True, it requires a courage to speak about LGBTI issues in Armenia but the fight against injustice and for equality has made him brave and unbreakable.
At the end of the discussion the participants shared their advice to all those who are desperate, depressed and don’t accept their sexuality and identity.
The event was continued by the NGO representatives dealing with the protection and advocacy of the human rights of LGBTI people who spoke about the activity of their organization, implemented projects and services provided to LGBTI people.
Sergey Gabrielyan, president of New Generation Humanitarian NGO, Lilit Martirosyan, president of Right Side human rights defender NGO, Nora Aghazaryan, president of Fearless human rights NGO, and Hmayak Avetisyan, Projects Coordinator of New Generation Humanitarian NGO made presentations of their NGO’s activity.
At the end of the event premiere screening of the Path to Equal Rights took place.
The event was organized by New Generation Humanitarian NGO with the financial support of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.