When I had clients in my job as an interior designer, they were all very honest, respectful and kind, so I thought of gay people as lovely, very kind and pleasant. That was until I wanted to engage myself in social work, and so I started working as a social worker in the psychiatric department of a big hospital in Los Angeles, where I met gay people again.

My patients have even attempted suicide, and there I understood that these individuals are not the happy people as I thought before, that they have their traumas, their problems. There is a perception that they are deviated due to life circumstances, but I realized that they are the creation of God and their preference whether towards male or female is still formed while in the womb of their mothers.

I had many debates over these matters when I tried to defend [these people] since even in America they speak totally the opposite among the Armenian communities, and they would bring the Bible as an example to convince me quoting what the Bible writes about them. I would always say that the Bible says other things as well – that one shall not love someone else’s wife [adultery], that one shall not steal, defraud … why wouldn’t you condemn these things instead?

But of course we cannot impose on everyone not to be homophobic, and it is important that it remains in their mind that this is not a deviation. Some time ago I was talking to someone and told them I will do such a thing [meaning giving a speech at this event] and they started again that these [gay] people shall be killed, murdered. I said no, and explained them, after which they agreed not to talk such things in front of me.

And it took me only a step to do something good, to succeed in having more people to be open-minded. And it was like a coming out to when I understand the lyrics of Charles Aznavour song when he sings about not to be judged and being created by God the way he is born.

This material was made possible through the support from the “Allies in Action” program by COC Netherlands and ILGA-Europe.