Gay and Lesbian Armenians
As gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities emerge in the contemporary Armenian world (both in Armenia and in the diaspora) more and more Armenians are making public their personal sexual identities.
Armenia decriminalized gay male sex on Jan. 9, 2003. Lesbian sex was never banned in Soviet Armenia or in today's Second Republic. Male homosexuality was decriminalized under the early Soviet period and only banned during the Stalinist period. The Republic of Armenia does not recognize any marriage/unions/partnerships between individuals of the same sex.
While gays and lesbians in Armenia still face many obstacles that prevent them from leading open and equal lives, many diasporan Armenians are not hindered by homophobia and the level of acceptance is more often related to the prevalent cultural attitudes of the greater non-Armenian community.
Famous Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Armenians
Famous Armenians who are believed to be either gay, lesbian or bisexual include:
- Armenian pre-Christian King Pap
- Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian
- Gay Catholicos Grigoris I or Grigor Aghtamartsi
- poet Vahan Tekeyan
- poet Yeghishe Charents
- poet Sarmad the Naked Mystic
- filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov
- gay Armenian American literary pioneer George Stambolian
- writer and activist Chastity Bono