She walked to the lectern in Armenia’s National Assembly to denounce the crimes committed daily against her community. The woman, Lilit Martirosyan, 28, said she embodied those people who are “tortured, raped, kidnapped, subjected to physical violence, burned, immolated, knifed, subjected to murder attempts, killed.”
The presentation earlier this month, less than three minutes long, seemed pertinent on a day in which the assembly had convened hearings on human rights. But Ms. Martirosyan was speaking of transgender people, and the backlash was sudden and fierce.
“You have violated our agenda,” shouted Naira Zohrabyan, who leads the assembly’s committee on human rights.
Ms. Zohrabyan had given the floor to Ms. Martirosyan just moments earlier, but it appeared she was unaware that Ms. Martirosyan was transgender and was going to speak about gender-based violence and discrimination. Ms. Zohrabyan, a member of the conservative opposition Prosperous Armenia party, accused Ms. Martirosyan of disrespecting the assembly and the defense of human rights.
Since then, Ms. Martirosyan and her organization, Right Side, which campaigns for the rights of transgender people in Armenia and the Caucasus region, have received dozens of death threats by telephone and in person, according to Max Varzhapetyan, a Right Side activist.
“Our community is living in fear. They don’t go out to walk, to shop,” Mr. Varzhapetyan said in a phone interview on Friday. Read more via New York Times