August 3, 2015

Queering Armenia

by Nairi Hakhverdi

(A letter to QYC and the Hye-Phens after their transphysical meeting on Friday, 24 July, at 20:30 at ICA Garden)

Before I moved to Armenia, I was Armenian.

I was an ethnic minority. I was an ethnicity.

To most, I was an unknown ethnicity. To most, my ethnicity did not exist. To most, my ethnicity was not relevant.

Some asked about my ethnicity. Some asked about where I was from, where my parents were from. Some asked how it was possible to have parents from one place, to be born in another, and to be neither one, nor the other.

Before I moved to Armenia, my ethnicity was my trap. It urged me to make it known. It urged me to make it exist. It urged me to make it relevant.

In Armenia, my ethnicity was already known. I did not need to make it known. My ethnicity already existed. I did not need to make it exist. My ethnicity was already relevant. I did not need to make it relevant.

In Armenia, I became a person, a person with a personal identity.

I felt liberated.

In Armenia, I just was.

In Armenia, I was.

I was, until I became a woman.

A single woman. A woman without a husband. A woman without children. A woman living on her own.

In Armenia, I am a woman, but not like other women.

In Armenia, I am strange and my strangeness must be explained.

I am from the West. I must be liberal. I am single. I must be promiscuous. I think. I must be lesbian.

In Armenia, I am not my personal identity.

In Armenia, I am somebody else’s identity.

I have chosen to stay in Armenia.

I have chosen to stay and I have chosen to be my personal identity.

And by being my personal identity, I have chosen to question and to inspire.

I have chosen to change and to challenge.

I have chosen to diversify and to become accepted.

I have chosen to queer Armenia.


  1. Beautiful!!!! I felt like this so much when I first visited the homeland!!

  2. I love this line: "I have chosen to change and to challenge." Great poem, Nairi. Thank you for this response.

  3. Hopefully one day I'll also have the courage to come out as a lesbian and make my move to Armenia. The more and more I hear about these brave women the more strength I get. Also, thank you to this blog that has kept me peaceful and part of a virtual community... I vicariously live through it. All the best!

    Love from LA <3