LGBT people are under attack in Armenia and the country could care less, said journalist Vic Gerami.
Seeking to bring attention to what he termed, “the Armenian authorities’ complacency,” Gerami is circulating reports and photographs of LGBT people who have suffered harassment and violence in Armenia.
“A lot of homophobia, hate crimes, gay bashings are justified and not just by the people but also the authorities,” Gerami said in a telephone interview. “It’s pretty bad.”
Gerami, a Los Angeles based journalist and owner of the website, The Blunt Post, visited Armenia last year during what he called a “velvet revolution.”
“When I got there the country was in celebration,” Gerami said. “There was lots of good energy, positive. Overall, I had a fantastic time.”
The situation has deteriorated since with younger Armenians and women becoming intolerant of LGBT people, said Gerami. On Feb. 11, a staff member of the trans activist group, Right Side NGO, reported being beaten and thrown into traffic on the streets of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city.
Armenia is a landlocked country in southwest Asia, smaller than Maryland, with an estimated population of more than three million. It is bordered by Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Strict adherence to religion, Gerami said, remains a source of the problems.
“Armenia prides itself as the first Christian nation,” Gerami said. “There is a lot of misguided and misinformed Christian-based myths that are thrown out and used as weapons. Some of the homophobia is justified as patriotism and it’s also coming from Armenia’s ‘Godfather’ if you will, which is Russia.”
“Russia is its backer in many, many ways,” Gerami said. “So what Putin says goes.”
In 2018, the Maryland and New York attorney general’s office's trained prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges analyzing reports in Armenia, said Kirsten D. Madison, U.S. State Department assistant secretary for the bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs in remarks to the National Association of Attorney Generals on Wednesday.
SFGN has reached out via e-mail to the Armenian delegation to the United Nations for comment. This story is developing.