Mamikon Hovsepyan / Armenia
“At age 14, I started feeling I had some feelings that were not expected. My feelings did not fit society’s expectations, I started refusing those feelings at first. Refusing that I’m out of society’s box, I tried to find explanations that it will go, I could not believe that it was real. I tried to find justifications for my feelings toward men. This struggle took 3 to 4 years. I started to read some literature, reading about sexuality, I understood people are different, I cannot fight against it anymore because I cannot change it within me. I started to try to find what is good in me being gay. I started to coming out to friends, and then to family. Usually, the question was, when did you become gay? This question used to make me nervous because I knew I did not become gay but I just found out that I was gay. I always tried to find cute guys and be friends with them since childhood, but my consciousness was not allowing me to think I’m gay since childhood. It was more interesting to be with girls rather than with guys, but I wanted the cute guys to be my friends though I wanted to be with girls as my friends more than guys in general. That helped me see that my sexual orientation was different.
I had girlfriends all over my high school years because I was trying to follow the heterosexual rules of how it should be, but it was artificial. I had more feelings toward guys, but less toward girls and it was forced toward girls.
When I came out to my parents, I was 18 years of age. They were not trying to be hurting for me, but they got depressed themselves and wanted to find a solution. They do not have any knowledge about it and tried to find a solution.
I usually do not face aggressive reactions regarding my own sexuality, but rather my work of activisim for the LGBT community such as hate speech, being accused of converting teenage boys into LGBT, and more. The reason I do not have a problem when I came out is because I only shared with those who would accept me, and even relatives who accepted me eventually.
The negative side as well can be when meeting other relatives in a wedding for example where they ask insulting questions and making stupid comments which are pretty nasty.
It is hard for me to start a relationship because people know about me since I came out almost publicly due my activism work for LGBT, and thus those who want to start a relationship with me, feel very hesitant because they do not want to be exposed, and their parents may already have knowledge about me. Also, if I want to have kids, it will be hard for my kids to grow up in this country because I am visible and people will know that I’m a gay father in Armenia, whereas, if I live in the shadow, it would be maybe more convenient, and people would not notice that I live with a guy and would assume I’m a single father. Also, I have to behave as a heterosexual when I meet the relatives of my partners, and thus pretending to be someone else and hiding my sexuality.”