Gay Armenian couple jump to their suicide deaths in Happy End final Instagram photo after being subjected to hate, discrimination and threats. Homophobia rampant in former Soviet nation as social media and the diaspora respond.
A forbidden love… A young gay couple jumped to their deaths from a bridge in Armenia after sharing a kiss in a final photo, according to a local LGBTQ group.
Gay advocacy group, Pink Armenia reported that the two men, identified only as Arsen and Tigran, leaped from the 301-foot Davitashen Bridge in the capital of Yerevan last week.
Before committing suicide together on Oct. 20, the love crossed pair posted a tragic last post on Instagram, writing, ‘Happy End. We made the decision together to share photos and take the next steps.’
The couple posted pictures of themselves enjoying facials together, sharing a kiss and showing off what appear to be their wedding rings.
Suicide draws homophobic response
Reports told of Tigran and Arsen’s parents not approving of their relationship, with the young gay couple having received threats over their ‘illicit’ relationship prior to their deaths.
‘The young men still had many years of life ahead of them, but because of intolerance towards them, they took such a tragic step,’ Pink Armenia wrote. ‘LGBT people are very familiar with the feeling of isolation and misunderstanding of family and society.
‘This tragic incident proves once again that LGBT people in Armenia are not safe and not protected by society or the state.’
But there’s more.
In the aftermath of the young couple’s suicide, the pair’s Instagram page, which has since gone viral has been inundated with homophobic comments, Pink Armenia revealed.
Pink Armenia, said in a statement that the young couple’s death ‘proves once again that LGBT people in Armenia are not safe and not protected by society or the state.’
‘We call on the public to refrain from insults, humiliating expressions, distorting the details of the incident in the form of hateful messages and comments, and spreading hatred,’ Pink Armenia added.
The death of a young gay couple by suicide in Yerevan has shocked Armenia and Armenian diaspora communities around the world, refocusing attention on Armenia’s deeply entrenched homophobia and the stigma of seeking mental health services in the country. https://t.co/9EwF52H7Nw
— Pink Armenia (@pinkarmenia) October 22, 2022
Trapped in social disapproval
News of the young men’s suicide has since led to Armenia and Armenian diaspora communities around the world, expressing shock and disconcert and refocusing attention on Armenia’s deeply entrenched homophobia and the stigma of seeking mental health services in the country.
Posted one commentator on social media, ‘Just like thousands of other LGBTIQ people every year, they saw no future for themselves, so they ended their lives. Homophobia claimed two more lives.’
Homophobia remains widespread in Armenia, and members of the LGBTQ community in the country regularly face discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Seeking mental health services remains taboo in Armenian society.
Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Armenia in 2003, but many members of the LGBTQ community in the former Soviet country still opt to keep their same-sex relationships secret due to widespread intolerance.
Armenia ranks 47th out of 49 countries of Europe and Central Asia for LGBTQ rights, just ahead of Turkey and Azerbaijan, according the international organization ILGA-Europe that measures hostility toward gay people.