Category Archives: News

AGLA NY at the 2012 NYC Pride Parade

Historic Petition: Armenians Support LGBT Rights in Armenia

The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York has sponsored the following historic petition that is co-signed by 20+ leading Armenian cultural figures who have unified their voices to support human rights in Armenia. This is the first time such a petition has been created in support of LGBT human rights in Armenia.

Please sign and share the petition with all your friends, family and allies.

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For Immediate Release
June 26, 2012

Press contact: Nancy Agabian, me.as.her.again@gmail.com

The Government of Armenia: Honor the Constitutional Right of Each Citizen

We, the undersigned, write to support democratic and human rights for all in Armenia. We are disturbed by the May 8 firebombing of the gay-friendly bar DIY and the subsequent vandalism of the space. Attacks on the May 21st Cultural Diversity march in Yerevan by a few hundred “neo-fascists,” some wearing swastikas, lead us to fear that the democratic nature of Armenian society is threatened. Though police have done an admirable job of maintaining order over the course of the attacks, the government has not responded directly to the incidents, nor produced a clear message of tolerance for diversity. Some members of the Armenian government have even made statements condoning these attacks, going so far as to claim that such violence against LGBT Armenians is a means of protecting “the national ideology.”

We stand with the United Nations, the United States Embassy, Amnesty International, the Armenian Ombudsman, the European Union and the Council of Europe, in calling for the Armenian government to act in alignment with global human rights values. We call on President Serzh Sargsyan, his administration, members of Parliament, and all local governing leaders to honor the constitutional right of each citizen of the Armenian Republic to be treated with dignity and respect.

Initial signatories include: Nancy Agabian, Shushan Avagyan, Arlene Avakian, Peter Balakian, Anna Barseghian, Eve Beglarian, Eric Bogosian, Chris Bohjalian, Diana Der Hovanessian, Gregory Djanikian, Atom Egoyan, Aris Janigian, TJ Jourian, Nina Katchadourian, David Kherdian, Nancy Kricorian, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Marc Nichanian, Meline Toumani, Hrag Vartanian

The text of the petition may be found here.

AGLA NY’s Statement In Response to the May 8th Terror Attack in Yerevan

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.

AGLA NY Elects New Officers

Dear AGLA NY members and friends,

Please welcome Alex Sarkesian and Michael Yagliyan as the new Co-Presidents of AGLANY!

Alex and Michael have both been active and dedicated members of AGLA NY for the past few years and I am delighted they have both volunteered to lead the organization as it continues to grow and strengthen in the coming year.

If you are interested in getting more involved and helping Alex and Michael in the coming year as active members of our organization, please email Alex and Mike through this form and let them know.

I would like to thank everyone for their support and help over the past two years that I have had the honor of serving as AGLA NY President.

We are planning some great events this year in addition to our participation in the 2011 NYC pride parade and our annual Armenian Christmas party, so be sure you are on our mailing list to get all the updates.

AGLA NY Armenian Christmas Party – Jan 21

Come Celebrate the New Year and Armenian Christmas with AGLA NY at our Annual Armenian Christmas Party on Friday January 21st.

This year’s party is being hosted by 2 of our wonderful members who will be opening up their home for the occasion!

When: Friday January 21st, 8PM
Where: 104 Green Street, #2, (Greenpoint) Brooklyn, NY 11222 (view map)

Please bring what you would like to drink 🙂

Please RSVP on Facebook or email us to let us know if you’re coming!

Ianyan Magazine Explores the Stigma of being Gay & Armenian

Ianyan magazine has posted the first article in a series about what it means to be LGBT and Armenian.

Written by Liana Aghajanian the first installment focuses on Stigma and explores issues of  homophobia, religion,  & HIV/AIDS in the Armenian diaspora as well as Armenia.

In the article, AGLA NY member Alex Sarkesian talks about his experience of Homophobia within the Armenian Church.

“I’ve been to events that were sponsored by the church where they talk about how homosexuality is wrong,” he said. “Even if you’re around, they’re ok with saying how horrible it is to be gay.”

Click here to read the entire article at ianyanmag.com

We did it! AGLA NY Successfully Fundraises for WOW Collective Book

Our Kickstarter Project to fund the publishing of “Two Years in Correspondence”, a new book by the Women-Oriented Women’s Collective in Armenia has been a huge success and has raised over $2,000.  The money raised for this project will be used to help create, design, publish, and distribute this book of letters and correspondence from the group.

The level of support for the project has been amazing and we are proud to have helped the WOW Collective raise the funding to make this project a reality.

Follow updates on this project and others at  Queering Yerevan.

Thank you everyone for helping us make this possible. We are happy to see there are soo many people willing to support projects for and/or by LGBT Armenians.

Join Us On Facebook

Our new facebook page is now even easier to find.

Visit us and become a fan at facebook.com/aglany.org

You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aglany

If you are not already on our email mailing list, please click here to subscribe here.

Inclusive Foundation Leader Released

Via Pink Armenia we have learned that IGLA-Europe is reporting that Paata Sabelashvili, board member of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board and a leader of the Inclusive Foundation in Georgia, has been released and is now recovering after nearly two weeks detention.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chairs of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Boards, said:

“There are a few questions still to be answered by the Georgian authorities. We are concerned that the raid on the office of the Inclusive Foundation which took place on 15 December 2009 was disproportionate and humiliating. We are very concerned with the way the police forces treated the staff of the Inclusive Foundation and with the damage they cause to the office. The other worry is that Georgian police still monitors the office and that other leaders of the Inclusive Foundation, Tinatin Japaridze and Eka Agdgomelashvili, continue to be under police surveillance. We call on the Georgian authorities to immediately end intimidation and any surveillance of the Inclusive Foundation office and its staff.”

Georgian Police Attack LGBT Organization & Arrest Leader, Paata Sabelashvili

The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY) is very troubled by the news that Georgian Police have attacked the office of the Georgian LGBT group Inclusive Foundation and arrested the head of the organization, Paata Sabelashvilli (pictured left).

Dedicated to establishing a democratic Georgia, “where sexual orientation and gender self-expression would not be the ground for discrimination,” the Inclusive Foundation is an important voice in the Caucasus, which is still plagued by homophobic public policies and severe brutality against LGBT people in general.

In a statement issued today, ILGA-Europe said it was “shocked” by the conduct of the Georgian police, “which had clearly homophobic motives.”  The group called for the immediate release of Mr. Sabelashvili. AGLA NY joins its voice in the international call for the release of the LGBT leader.

ILGA-Europe continues:

“The information we have received from Georgia indicates that the police acted disproportionately and completely ignored basic rule of law. Moreover, we are extremely concerned about the safety of Paata Sabelashvili, who is not allowed any contact with the outside world.”

The following is Inclusive-Foundation’s appeal to the Georgian government and all international organizations. Please circulate this letter to everyone you know.

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