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Armenian Reporter Worried Anti-Discrimination Law Would Let LGBT People ‘Move Freely’

Sergey Gabrielyan, head of the New Generation Humanitarian NGO, said at a news conference Wednesday that discrimination against LGBT persons continues to remain widespread in Armenia, which, he suggested, might be related to the explicit propaganda against homosexuals in Russia, Armenia's main ally. Russia's Health Ministry, Gabrielyan added, has recently decided to open specially designated centres within psychiatric institutions for “curing homosexuality,” and it's not ruled out that Armenia will follow suit some time soon.

Gabrielyan stressed that Armenia's domestic law does not protect LGBT persons from discrimination, and the situation, the speaker said, would not change until the country adopts anti-discrimination legislation. 

“Wouldn't anti-discrimination legislation allow homosexuals' free movement? Wouldn't that affect children? That's not normal, is it?” one of the reporters commented.

“We're talking to each other. Is it normal?” Public Information and Need of Knowledge NGO (PINK Armenia) executive director Mamikon Hovsepyan, another discussion participant, asked the reporter, to which he received a positive reply. 

“But I'm a homosexual,” Hovsepyan went on. 

“Well, then it's not normal,” the reporter countered.

Both Gabrielyan and Hovsepyan agreed that mass media in Armenia is filled with hate speech and propaganda against LGBT people, and that the situation will only continue to worsen as long as negative attitude towards homosexuals is supported by the country's political elite. 

Sergey Gabrielyan recalled a discrimination case from several years ago, when a homosexual friend of theirs filed a vandalism report with the police: “[Law enforcement] did nothing, saying they did not deal with such cases.”

Returning to the reporter's earlier comment, Mamikon Hovsepyan said that a person, regardless of his or her sexual orientation, should be free to “remain on the street day or night.” The speaker urged people not to interfere into the personal lives of others and stop shaming people based on their sexual orientation and practices.