Transgenders Outed In Armenia On Social Media

On April 23, two transgender women, E.P and A. Gh., reported to Armenian Trans Rights Organisation Right Side that a number of people had posted photos and information of their passports on Facebook and Instagram. 

The concerned transgender women were subjected to discrimination and hate speech via social media: “they received numerous threats, mocking and insulting comments”, according to Right Side NGO Director Lilit Martirosyan. 

In this regard, Right Side NGO submitted a report to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia on the crime of illegally collecting, keeping, using and disseminating information pertaining to personal or family life (provided in Article 144 of the Armenian Criminal Code).

Based on the report, a criminal case was opened, specifically against Narek Malian for illegally disseminating the personal data of transgender woman E.P. 

“Narek Malian was a consultant to the former head of police of the Republic of Armenia. Now, he’s mainly active as an anti-LGBTI and anti-women activist.”, Emil Avetisyan from Right Side NGO tells me. 

The mentioned misconduct is punishable with a fine of two hundred to five hundred times the minimum wage, or imprisonment for a term of one to two months, according to the Armenian criminal code. 

Covid-19: A Risk To Trans People Their Health

“We called several members of the trans community and asked them individually what the impact of Covid-19 is on their lifes. The answers were very sad. Because none of them are owningW their houses they can’t afford the rent, food, utility etc.”, says Emil Avetisyan (Right Side NGO) to me. 

“The trans people that are now on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can’t afford medicines as well. This can effect their health in the future.”, they continue. 

“Many of them are hopeless and don’t even know if they aj re going to survive the quarantine or not, and that’s when you see how invisible and unheard trans people are in Armenia. It really is a humiliation.”, Avetisyan concludes. 

Post-Soviet Conservatism

Armenia is one of the most conservative countries within the Council of Europe. It is sandwiched between the post-communist Russian, Turkish and Iranian transphobia.

Since the liberal revolution of two years ago, the country has economically looked more and more to the West. But Russia is doing whatever in their power to wage a cultural war in Armenia. The Kremlin still has a not to be underestimated influence on politics in Yerevan.

The most influential transphobic and homophobic power in Armenia is the Armenian evangelical church. The population is still very religious and the only message they get from church on LGBTI-people is ‘how bad they are for the country’. LGBTI people are being silenced by religion and society in Armenia.

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