If you are from the LGBTIQ community in conservative Armenia, it is difficult to ‘be yourself.’ Often individuals from this community fight against themselves to come to terms with their sexuality, only to keep on struggling once they decide to come out with their families and the wider society. Yet, people like Elvira, Liz, and Rim believe that standing up for who you are is the only path to your own happiness.
Elvira Meliksetyan, 26, is a psychologist, a human rights activist, and a feminist living in Vanadzor, Armenia’s third largest city. “I started talking about my sexual orientation when I understood that in order to feel complete I had to be open about it,” explains the 26-year-old.
“In the winter of 2016 I told my family about my sexual orientation. But as there are only women left in our family, as my father had died, it was easier to be open about it with my mother and my sisters.
I came out with them when I fully understood that it was my identity and I had grown to feel at ease with myself. I told my mother that I had been attracted to women for three years. She was very surprised, she told me that men are very important in women’s life and that I “behave” in this way because I haven’t met a good man.