Today, on the 8th of March, the whole world is celebrating International Women’s Day, the slogan of which this year is Invest in women, accelerate progress, emphasizing the idea of spurring reforms through women’s empowerment. This day has brought women together for years to speak out about injustice and fight for gender equality. As a trans LGBIQ and sex workers community-based organization, it is the mission of Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO to raise awareness of issues and challenges, protect rights and work for the well-being of these communities. The patriarchal nature of society in Armenia leads to the fact that very often gender issues are marginalized and ignored in our country, as a result of which women who have intersecting identities, who live in difficult social conditions, are discriminated against due to their gender identity or sexual orientation or employment suffer the most. Transgender women in Armenia continue to be subjected to violence and discrimination in all spheres of public life, such as medical institutions, state bodies, police units, educational institutions, sports and recreation places, which was painfully evidenced by the cases of physical violence against trans women during the past year. Calls for public violence, hate speech, death threats, and the widespread climate of impunity are commonplace, reinforced by police inaction. The state also does not protect and take care of the needs of sex workers in any way, on the contrary, when they appear at police stations, they are subjected to double discrimination, because sex work is not decriminalized, and there is a stereotyped attitude towards sex workers in society. There is no clear procedure for legal gender recognition in Armenia, which would recognize the gender identity of trans women and free them from the ongoing stigma. A lack of political will to take action to achieve gender equality and balance exacerbates transphobia and homophobia.

Like all women, Trans LBIQ people and sex workers should be accepted and respected as full citizens of the Republic of Armenia, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, self-expression, employment, and other social conditions.

No one of us can be free until everybody is free.

In solidarity with all the women of the world,
Right Side Human Rights Defender NGO

March 8, 2024 Armenia, Yerevan

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