In this podcast, we interview John (placeholder name), who is a Russian transgender gay man arriving in Armenia.  Because of the anti-LGBT regulations in their country they realized the urgent need to leave Russia. Even though they thought of moving to Europe, they faced difficulties obtaining a visa. Finally, John chose Armenia and they were relieved to feel the warmth of its welcome as a break from the hatred facing back home.

Getting used to the post-Soviet lifestyle’s rhythms proved to be an enormous challenge. The nuances of social graces, such as the problem of giving up your seat to senior citizens on buses, have become everyday struggles. Another obstacle was language. In some cases, speaking Russian seemed privileged and John was constantly doubting whether to use it and when to avoid it. 

Yet the kindness of Armenian neighbors shone bright. Unlike the distant souls of Russia, here, bonds were created easily. Their openness, their generosity was a balm to John’s heart.

“To all my Russian fellows, I offer this counsel: Engage with Armenians. Their warmth knows no bounds, and they are always ready to embrace you as one of their own,” summarizes John.


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