UN, EU Express Concerns About Threats Against Armenia's LGBT Community

The United Nations, European Union, and local rights groups have expressed concerns about "hate speech" directed toward Armenia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community following reports of death threats against a transgender woman who spoke in the country's National Assembly.

The controversy could also represent the first major challenge to reform-minded Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's My Step alliance from nationalist and conservative groups in the South Caucasus country since popular street protests swept him to power last year.

The latest incident stems from reported threats against Lilit Martirosian, a transgender woman who spoke during an April 5 parliamentary hearing on human rights attended by lawmakers, government officials, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

Martirosian, representing the LGBT rights group Right Side, complained of widespread hostility and discrimination against sexual minorities in Armenia and identified herself as "a representation of a tortured, raped, kidnapped, physically assaulted, burned, stabbed, murdered, robbed, and unemployed Armenian transgender."

Naira Zohrabian of the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) parliamentary faction, who chaired the meeting, immediately challenged Martirosian's right to speak, saying the topic was not on the panel's agenda. Read more via RFE/RL