The study found what activists have known for years—that a very limited understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity is widespread in Armenia.Negative attitudes are deeply rooted, and unlike in other countries, age and gender are not determining factors for the level of acceptance of homosexuality, as 86.6% of survey respondents “strongly agree” that homosexuality should be outlawed.
In the film, Oganesova says that she could have remained silent during the incident, but chose not to. We began to understand that there is fascism in Armenia. They said much more disgusting and demeaning things about me than those boys,” she added.
Most cases of violence and discrimination go unreported, and Armenia lacks comprehensive legislation protecting citizens from discrimination on the basis of sexuality and/or gender identity.
The inaction of law enforcement bodies, their failure to prevent crimes, as well as the court’s failure to restore social justice and prevent further offenses by bringing offenders to justice all contribute to an overall culture of impunity.
2015 was also marked by the banning of same-sex marriage in Armenia by an amended article on marriage of the new constitution, which oppositionists say was used as a scapegoat to draw attention away from other critical issues.
Though life in Armenia for LGBT people is far from what activists want (according to ILGA Europe, Armenia is the third worst country in Europe for LGBT people, after Azerbaijan and Russia), the faces seen and stories told in “Listen To Me,” remind the viewer that Armenia cannot be exceptionalized as an inherently homophobic place.