About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


LGBT and journalists: a journey through tolerance and mafia game!

Tolerance, a very hard word to digest, specially if you are living in a small nation constantly struggling to keep its identity, to live, survive and exist.
Tolerance was a very hard and critical word to gasp during our weekend seminar in Tsaghkatsor, where 6 journalists and 6 LGBT community members were stuck in one remote place for 3 days to rethink all that ---

During the numerous discussions “hamaseramol”/“arvamol” was constantly defined – one part was blaming the other for writing homophobic articles and inciting hate speech in society, the other part, feeling under attack was criticizing the latter for being so closed, unorganized and not having adequate communication skills with the media and others. The ambiance was tense in the beginning, people were there with all their beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices and we had 2 and half days to work with all that.

But the real change happened at night…

Once the sun was down, nobody cared who was gay, journalist, hotel worker, diasporan, or hayasdantsi. At night something different happened which deconstructed for a moment the whole dynamic of the group. Yes, it was Mafia Time! And in that room gathered players regardless of their background, sexual preferences and social status.  Two days in a row we played the game choking of laughter. And believe me when you spend 2 nights playing mafia with someone, it is very difficult to hate that person or ignore him/her. And a whole new kind of relationship starts, building a strong base for a long lasting tolerance.

The second day, journalists were ready to protect their gay game partners when hotel workers were threatening not to clean the latter’s room or got angry when a bunch of Armenian men were making fun of them and saying homophobic comments.

The last day, journalists teamed with a gay partner and prepared amazing articles and pieces to share with the rest of us, some of them are already published, other will soon. The most important thing is that communication is always possible even when the situation seems impossible.  And change starts with those participants who had the will and the courage to face their deepest fears and challenge their most important beliefs.

You can read some of the articles here:




Armenian Pregnancy Chronicles #1

I can say I am feeling much better.  This pregnancy was a little more stressful in the beginning because of my age.  When you’re over 35, you need to go through the worries of the health of the baby, triple test and the amnio. But the most nerve-racking experience was the wait. Thank god I was occupied with my work and travelling for conferences and meetings to keep my mind off of things.

The experience was even more interesting in Armenia. This is my 4th pregnancy in general and my 2nd in Armenia. My mom had almost a nervous breakdown once she heard the news over the phone. For her, one was enough and having more kids was just limiting myself as a woman and bringing hardship on myself. She is not the typical Armenian mom or Grandmother, too independent, she told me from the first day: “I did my share and raised my kids, don’t count on me for babysitting, I want to have fun with my grand-kids but not devote my entire life to them.” I appreciated her sincerity and decided to have 4 of my own and enjoy each one of the experiences. 

So when I found out that I was pregnant, I was happily surprised and thought little about age and problems, until I came back to Armenia after a long vacation in Montreal.  I went to my doctor’s office at the Hanrapetakan Hospital (Republican hosp.), same doctor who delivered my 3rd and a wonderful one, one of those rare doctors who will not scare you uselessly and will listen to your needs (which is very rare in Armenia).
He advised me to take the triple test and directed me to this new and high tech lab in Gomidas, DIAGEN. They were very professionnaly and I recommend it for any type of blood tests you need to do in Armenia.
After a week I went to pick up the results with my husband and went directly to the doctor, he looked at the numbers and expressed his concerns immediately.  I had a little over the average risk to give birth to a baby with trisomy (down syndrome).  I didn’t know what to think, I was under the shock, what next? That’s the hardest question you could ask yourself in these circumstances. We left the clinic depressed and had to wait another 2-3 weeks to pass an amnio to have the final results. The doctors explained to us the options: either to keep the baby, which in his opinion was a very difficult options, since Armenia unlike Canada doesn’t have the opportunities and services to support parents with children with down syndrome.  The other option was to do an abortion after the amnio results that would take me to almost 4-5 months of pregnancy and would be very hard for me to take.
On the day of the amnio, I was even more stressed, although I was trying to not think about it a lot, trying to relax as much as possible, but I was worried about the intervention and doing it in Armenia. So I went that day, the doctor prepared everything, checked the baby and started. The first 2 attempts were unsuccessful, I was trying to hold my breath, not move, concentrate my mind on other things.

I was feeling the needle entering deep in my womb, but nothing, not a single drop of amniotic fluid was coming out. He tried for the 3rd and last attempt and finally was able to succeed. I was almost ready to cry from worry; mostly worrying if this was going to harm the fetus or result in a miscarriage. I had to rest for 2-3 days, take it easy a little. So I spend a couple of days at home, in front of TV, writing and reading like crazy all kind of info I could get on the internet.

The wait was horrific and stressful. Then the results came when I was in Istanbul for a conference and my husband called me to say that everything was ok and I was carrying a healthy baby.  You couldn’t imagine my joy! I was finally going to enjoy the pregnancy.