Gay and Lesbian Armenians

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While the term gay and lesbian is a modern moniker for individuals who seek love and companionship with individuals of the same sex, the practice has been part of human society from the dawn of history.

Famous Armenians who are believed to be either gay, lesbian or bisexual include, Byzantine Emperor Basil I the Macedonian, poet Vahan Tekeyan, poet Yeghishe Charents, filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov, gay Armenian American literary pioneer George Stamboulian, and writer and activist Chastity Bono.

As gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities emerge in the contemporary Armenian community (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. 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.

There are active Armenian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered associations in Los Angeles ([1]), New York, Paris ([2]) and elsewhere.