A gay couple in Armenia are alleged to have committed suicide after coming out and being rejected by their families, according to a local LGBTQ group.
According to the LGBTQ advocacy group PINK Armenia, which spoke to the newspaper the Greek Reporter, on October 20, the two men posted a picture of them kissing on their respective Instagram accounts, announcing their intention to commit suicide. Each man reportedly captioned their photos by writing: “Happy End. Decisions about sharing photos and our next steps were taken by both of us together.” They then allegedly jumped off the Davtashen bridge in Yerevan, Armenia.
As the Daily Mail reports, the men came out to their individual families, but were rejected by their relatives — a story not altogether uncommon in the socially conservative country, where 97% of citizens belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Eastern Christian denomination closely linked to other Oriental Orthodox churches.
Feeling the pressure of being abandoned by their families, coupled with the fact that Armenia’s record on LGBTQ rights is lacking, the two reportedly felt their only option was suicide.
Though Armenia legalized homosexuality in 2003, the country still remains largely unaccepting of LGBTQ people. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 97% of Armenian respondents said they do not believe LGBTQ identities should be accepted in civil society.
Due to the lack of anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ individuals in the country, many people choose to keep their sexual orientation or gender identity hidden for fear of discrimination or societal rejection. Hostilities toward LGBTQ individuals are palpable: in one instance, when a transgender woman gave a speech before Armenian lawmakers in 2019, one walked out of the legislative meeting and another threatened to burn her alive.
PINK Armenia lamented the two young men’s deaths, blaming the larger culture of intolerance for pushing them to make such a decision.
“We consider it unacceptable to justify the loss of human life. The young men still had many years of life ahead of them. Nevertheless, because of the intolerance they felt towards them, they decided to take an irreversibly tragic step,” the group said in a statement. “LGBT people are very familiar with the feeling of being isolated and not understood by family members and/or society. This tragic case proves once again that LGBT people in Armenia are neither safe nor protected by society nor by the state.”
The LGBTQ group Tbilisi Pride, based in neighboring Georgia, expressed sympathy for the Armenian couple, tweeting: “We are saddened to hear such devastating news from our neighboring country. Our deepest condolences and solidarity go out to the LGBT community in Armenia. Homophobia, hate & violence have no place in any society!”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!