Puneet Varma

AGLA France

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Founded  2001
Dissolved  2007
Location  France
Founder  Micha Meroujean
Type  Association Loi 1901
AGLA France
Focus  Advocacy for LGBT Rights in Armenia

AGLA France (Association des Gays et Lesbiennes Arméniens de France) (English: Association of Gay and Lesbian Armenians of France, Armenian: Ֆրանսահայ Միասեռականների Ասոցիացիա) was a Paris-based advocacy group working to fight widespread homophobia in Armenia and among Armenians in France from 2001 to 2007.

Contents

Origins

Founded in December 2001 by gay refugees from Armenia, the group aimed at pressuring the Armenian government to remove its law against gay men, article 116 of the Armenian penal code.

Actions

In May 2003 AGLA France launched "ThePink", the first LGBT online magazine in the Armenian language. By promoting public awareness on such issues as homophobia, coming out and HIV/STI prevention, AGLA sought to prepare the ground for the movement in favor of LGBT rights in Armenia.

In August 2003, President Robert Kocharyan ratified Armenia's new penal code which removes the former anti-gay article 116.

In late 2004, Armen Avetisyan, leader of Armenian Aryan Union (AAU), an ultra-nationalist Armenian political party, announced that some senior Armenian officials were gay. That prompted heated debates in parliament that were broadcast over the public TV channel. Some members of Armenian Parliament stated that any member found to be gay should resign.

AGLA France organized a protest to denounce the AAU's homophobic campaign and the denigration of gays by Armenian lawmakers and media outlets. AGLA France also picketed in front of the Armenian embassy in Paris. The association also wrote an open letter to the President of Armenia that was published a few days later in the newspaper "Haykakan Zhamanak".

In 2005, AGLA France invited two young men from Armenia to participate in ILGA-Europe's annual conference which was held in Paris. A year later Menq/WFCE, the first gay-operated NGO to fight HIV/AIDS, was registered in Yerevan.

In 2006, two members of AGLA France celebrated an informal wedding ceremony in the Etchmiadzin Cathedral (Holy See of the Armenian Apostolic Church). An article published in the newspaper 168 Zham (168 Hours) about this improvised marriage provoked a scandal and indignation at local conservative media outlets and among politicians and religious officials.

AGLA France ceased its activities in 2007.

References

AGLA France Wikipedia


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