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November 20th is honored around the world as Transgender Day of Remembrance, every year on this day we join our voices to remember those who became victims of transphobia. On the occasion of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO organized an event entitled “Remembering Adriana” in respect of Adriana, a trans woman who was killed and burned in her apartment on August 21 of this year, and whose brutal murder was followed by thousands of comments on social networks glorifying and encouraging murder, containing hate speech and death threats. In the Republic of Armenia today, violence and discrimination against trans people are not only not decreasing, but also increasing, a vivid proof of which are the annual reports and the alerts on physical and other types of violence against trans people published every month by Right Side NGO.
The event dedicated to Transgender Day of Remembrance was attended by the mother of the murdered trans woman Adriana, representatives of diplomatic structures and organizations operating in the field, and members and supporters of the Trans and LGBIQ community. During the meeting, the mother of the murdered trans woman Adriana shared her memories and stated that she would fight until the end to reveal the circumstances of her daughter’s murder. Lilit Martirosyan, the founder, and president of Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO addressed the guests with a welcome speech, and then a panel discussion on the situation of the rights of trans people took place with the participation of lawyers Artur Margaryan and Sona Harutyunyan from Right Side NGO and Ara Karagyozyan from the Pink Human Rights Defender NGO, who are involved in the case of Adriana’s murder as protectors of the interests of her successor. The lawyers presented the current situation in the Republic of Armenia, cases of discrimination against Trans and LGBIQ people in state bodies, as well as some details in the case of Adriana’s murder, which do not contradict the confidentiality of the investigation. A new social video “Remembering Adriana” filmed by Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO was presented, followed by a panel discussion “The voice of Trans people”, during which activists from the Trans and LGBIQ community shared their personal experiences and pointed out the steps that can be taken to reduce the community stigmatization, discrimination and violence. At the end of the meeting, Maria Papamichail, the political affairs officer of the EU delegation, made a speech expressing her condolences and emphasizing the importance of the protection of human rights and building a democratic society, without any discrimination.
Adriana’s tragic murder is not the only story that resonates in the hearts of all transgender people who hear hate speech every day and are subjected to all kinds of stigma, discrimination, and violence at home, on the street, in state and medical institutions, and elsewhere. In 2023 alone, dozens of cases of violence against transgender people were documented by Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO, to which a fair and proper response could have prevented Adriana’s murder. Unfortunately, unlike many other countries, Armenia does not keep separate statistics on cases of hate speech, hate crimes, and discrimination against trans people, and the mass media does not cover discrimination and violence against trans people, the topic is only covered by internal political speculations, reinforcement of discrimination and within the framework of spreading hate speech.
Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO firmly believes in the power of education and awareness to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices. On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we not only light candles in memory of victims of transphobia but also call for concrete actions that can change this situation:
– take appropriate legal steps to ensure the legal gender recognition and name change of transgender persons, based on the right to self-determination, and spiritual and physical integrity, eliminating the need for coercive medical interventions.
– update the draft law on equality to include the prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity and gender self-expression.
– provide by law based on hatred protection of transgender people from crimes and hate speech, documenting incidents, and how to report to other OSCE participating countries.
– To make the current curricula in the RA educational system inclusive from the point of view of the rights of transgender persons and to teach inclusiveness, sexuality, and gender issues.
– implement appropriate measures to fairly investigate all cases of violence, hatred, and discrimination against transgender people.
– stop encouraging hatred, discrimination, and ridicule towards transgender people.
– Ensure the safety of trans persons and all the rights granted to them by the RA constitution to the RA police, the prosecutor’s office, the human rights defender, and relevant bodies.
– avoid using incorrect and misleading terminology and stop promoting discrimination against transgender people.
– cover the issues related to transgender people based on the principles of inclusiveness and sensitivity.
– stop feeding wrong prejudices and stereotypes about transgender people, presenting them as sick people who want to destroy Armenian traditions and culture.
– respect the personal lives of transgender persons and cooperate with transgender persons when preparing news materials about them.
November 20, 2023 Armenia, Yerevan