For immediate release
May 17, 2012
Press contact: nancyagabian [at] yahoo [dot] com
The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York is appalled by the terrorist firebombing of DIY bar on May 8 and the subsequent hate crimes against the establishment this past week. We also condemn the proliferation of verbal, Facebook, Youtube and other online attacks lodged against the queer community of Yerevan. Furthermore, we denounce acts of hate speech and threats against anyone in Armenia deemed different or “threatening to society”, including artists, intellectuals, and other free-thinkers.
Most despicable are the words and actions of Dashnaksutyun MP Artsvik Minasyan, who financially sponsored the bail for one of the two neo-fascist attackers of DIY and who recently deemed their actions “in accordance with national ideology.” In the same interview with Panorama News Agency, Minasyan targeted the manager of DIY, Tsomak Oganesova, stating that “her kind are destroying Armenian society.” Such statements may be used to justify violent acts against hundreds if not thousands of peaceful, law-abiding citizens. To date, there has been no official call from Dashnaksutyun or the Armenian government to investigate Minasyan or to take him to task: this is unacceptable. In the meantime, Minasyan is violating Dashnak philosophy and continues to issue egregiously homophobic and harmful statements under their banner. The Armenian Parliament and Dashnaksutyun should reprimand Minasyan, ask him to resign or remove him from office immediately for inflaming conflict and endangering lives.
Today on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, AGLA NY stands in unity with our partnering organizations PINK, the Women’s Resource Center, Queering Yerevan, and others to call for tolerance and a renewed commitment to human rights among individuals and institutions, in Armenia and in the diaspora. Most importantly, to the LGBT community in Armenia who are living under dangerous circumstances, we offer our undying support.
Founded in 1998, the Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) provides a space for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender Armenian-Americans, their partners and their allies to come together as a community. It is a forum which fosters our visibility and strengthens our cultural and ethnic ties to the queer communities and Armenian communities to which we each belong. The purpose of AGLA NY is also to inform both the Armenian and American communities about issues of importance to LGBT Armenians and Armenian-Americans, as well as the larger American community. For more information, visit AGLA NY at http://aglany.org or email info [at] aglany [dot] org.