Armenia hate group protest against ’perverted’ gay film
An extreme right wing group organised a protest against a screening of gay film in a children’s puppet theatre in Yerevan, Armenia
09 October 2012 | By Dan Littauer
Gay hate group Hayazn Union of Armenia allege that Parada, a film about gay rights, is ’gay propaganda’ designed to pervert children.
Extremist Armenians have protested outside the German embassy in their capital, Yerevan, against the screening of a ’perverted’ gay rights film.
As part of on-going events to promote tolerance and non-discrimination in Armenia, the German embassy and the European Union plans to screen the Serbian film Parada (meaning parade), which is about gay rights, next week (15 and 16 October).
Parada is a film by Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic which tells the story how a second gay pride parade in Belgrade was attempted after the first was banned.
The screening will take place in Yerevan’s puppet theatre, a venue which has previously hosted film festivals and hardcode rock concerts.
Nevertheless, an extreme right wing group, Hayazn Union, has instigated a moral panic about the event being a ‘gay propaganda’ to children.
Hayazn Union then organized a protest in front of the German embassy in Yerevan yesterday (8 October) demanding the event is cancelled.
Protestors, including a leading Armenian blogger Tigran Kocharyan (known better as Pigh, or Elephant, in the blogosphere), demanded that the German embassy refuse to sponsor ‘the perversion of minors’.
Kocharyan ranted in his blog: ‘The screening of the film in a puppet theater is unacceptable… As a parent and an Armenian, I am against it. [Its] like perverting children.’
In fact the film covers gay rights but is not sexual.
An official statement by Hayazn Union read ‘The European Union continues to attack our country with its immoral propaganda.’
The theater’s director, Ruben Babayan defended the screening telling Tert.Am portal: ‘This is a feature film, which has been shown at many festivals. By the same logic, I think you can ban the showing of films by Sergei Parajanov [who was convicted of being in gay in the former Soviet Union].
‘One should take a principle as a basis and decide – either we turn this country into Iran and feel happy about that, or we just come to the realization that there are things like tolerance, a feature film and arts.’
On his Facebook page spokesman of Armenia’s opposition Heritage party, Hovsep Khurshudyan, criticized the protesters, accusing them of trying to distract public attention from real problems.
He said: ‘What is this row that the saviours of our nation have kicked over the movie is all about? They are all but saying that the European Union is organizing a mass rape of kids and puppets in the puppet theater. In doing so, they, in fact, managed to advertize the film so much that I watched it from beginning to end.
‘Go and see this movie. By watching it you won’t change your sexual orientation for sure. Unless, of course, you’re already dreaming it, deep in your heart.’
The Hayazn Union are thought to be behind a recent arson attack in May against a gay bar and nightclub and its lesbian owner who was forced to flee and seek asylum in Sweden after death threats.
The group also attacked Yerevan’s Diversity Parade, in May blocking the march and shouting ‘Gays, get out of the country’.
The blogger of Unzziped - Gay Armenia slammed Hayazn Union’s actions calling it ‘a bout of hysteria’.
He added: ‘I should congratulate the embassy of Germany in Armenia and the EU office for success of the event that has not even started yet.
‘Never before there was such an awareness of gay rights-themed film in Armenia.’
Watch the trailer to Parada: