In August 2023, a transgender woman was killed in her home in Yerevan, marking yet another proof of hatred towards LGBTQ+ people in the country. 

The police received calls about a fire in an apartment on Yeznik Koghbatsi Street in downtown Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, on August 20. After extinguishing the flames, officers discovered a corpse with lacerations. It was later confirmed that Adriana, 28, had been stabbed to death and that her apartment had been set on fire.

The absence of specific legal protections leaves trans people vulnerable to discrimination and violence. This includes issues like access to gender-affirming healthcare, legal recognition of gender identity, and elevation of its legal status.    The cases of hate crimes, if committed, are investigated in accordance with the characterization of the crimes, omitting the gender-related issues and motives that might trigger the crime. Neglecting the gender-based motive in the investigation and judicial stages is evidence of systemic indifference towards trans people and, in general, systemic homophobia. This is also the omission and inaction of the judicial system, and it proves once again that Armenia has many legal gaps in the protection of human rights and freedoms.

Adriana’s murder raised discussion about the safety and security of trans people in Armenia, yet, as expected, it did not receive appropriate attention or trigger a public discourse or a government response to the existing and growing problems. 

Adriana’s murder wasn’t a precedent. Attacks on trans people took place in Armenia in the past, too. In August 2022, a member of a far-right group attacked a trans woman, who filmed and posted the attack. Another case took place in July 2022, when two men assaulted a trans woman who refused to have sex with them. Another trans woman’s apartment was set on fire in 2018 by a man who wanted to have sex with the woman but got rejected.

In 2019, trans rights activist Lilit Martirosyan made history by delivering a speech in the Armenian parliament. However, her speech was met with death threats, and the government has since shown neglect towards queer rights and anti-discrimination laws, despite initial positive post-revolution progress. Martirosyan’s speech triggered conservative right-wing Armenians, revealing the level of homophobia among the masses. 

The public widely discussed Adriana’s murder as well as the recent suicides of queer people in Armenia. Unfortunately, these discussions were mostly negative, with hate speech, homophobic statements, and threats circulating online. If covered by media outlets, such cases have a quick effect but do not have a lasting impact on the problems faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Armenia.


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