(Special to the Armenian Weekly)
YEREVAN (A.W.)—In May 2013, Armenia’s Parliament adopted the law on “Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Men and Women.” For the past two months, adoption of this piece of legislation has been the topic of an extremely frenzied debate. The discussion became even more heated during the last two weeks of August, when it drew in voices from almost all segments of Armenian society, including civil society groups, the church, nationalists, traditionalists, state representatives, various NGOs, human rights advocates, bloggers, the mass media, pop stars, and political parties.
The main focus, at least in the beginning of this hysteria, was Article 3 of the legislation, wherein gender is defined as the “acquired, socially fixed behavior of persons of different sexes.” Essentially, this definition of gender was either ill understood, not understood at all, or deliberately distorted by many, making gender related issues—LGBT among them—the most discussed topic in Armenia.
An overpowering wave of misogynistic, homophobic, and unjustified hatred covered Armenian society for two months. And it was a hard blow to the sustainable development of Armenian society. It will take a great deal of time for civil society to overcome its repercussions, and move towards efforts to refrain from reacting similarly in the future.
(S: The Armenian Weekly, 20 Sep 2013)