Since May 8, there have been two attacks at DIY Rock Pub in downtown Yerevan, sparking discussion and debate in Armenia.
Two neo-Nazis have been arrested in relation to the arson and vandalism that occurred at the lesbian-owned pub. People have responded with support and fear.
The Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York declared that they were appalled by the incident in a public statement:
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.
Armenia, which decriminalized homosexuality in 2003, has been home to a blossoming LGBTQ community. The current issue of Turkish LGBT Magazine “Kaos GL” features Layma, an Armenian trans woman.
Born This Way Armenia has initiated efforts to cease anti-gay bullying in Armenia.
On April 20, Armenians joined the world in honoring Day of Silence, where Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia) distributed signs saying, “I am erasing my mask of silence” in both English and Armenian.
Five days later, the UN Armenia Office hosted a youth discussion on Tolerance and Homophobia.
Unfortunately, despite these recent efforts, DIY Rock Pub, one of the two most popular Armenian gay bars, was subject to a hate crime that destroyed large portions of the bar.
Armine (Tsomak) Oganezova, director and owner of the bar, said that the attacks were committed by two members of a neo-Nazi group after she was interviewed about her participation in a pride parade in Turkey. Two brothers have been detained and questioned, and the owner of the bar is seeking legal action while rebuilding.
You can donate to rebuild DIY by sending funds via the information below:
Intermediary Bank :
Beneficiary`s bank: ACCOUNT 36017277
ARMENIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
BENEFICIARY: WOMEN`S RESOURCE CENTER NGO
Acc. No 1810001017073313