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I didn’t hear about VO.X before their homophobic act. What they did? They have represented homosexuality as perversion. Nothing THAT special.

But a special thing is that they have put an official disclaimer statement.

Here is Mika’s coverage on that http://gayarmenia.blogspot.com/2011/03/vox-official-disclaimer-statement-re.html A

Another good source to see is “No Rock And Roll Fun”: http://xrrf.blogspot.com/2011/03/vox-denies-homophobia-gays-are-just.html

A homophobe stating he’s not a homophobe. A good comparison is made in the site above: “You know that as soon as someone reaches for a dictionary — or Wikipedia — to parse the word “homophobia” to react to such an accusation that they really don’t have much a defence. It’s a bit like a racist going “how can I be xenophobic? If I was afraid of foreigners, I’d not chase them for a ruck, would I?””

On the one hand, there is a good saying: “If you argue with a fool, that makes two of you” and I would like to use my time on some more interesting and important things rather this. On the other hand, it is still important to fight ignorance, hypocrisy and homophobia.

So, my answer based on his ‘statement’. In red is his comment, in yellow — my answer (You may see the statement on their FB page):

March 2nd, 2011
Yerevan, Armenia

To Whom It May Concern

I hereby state that, based on Biblical principles, I personally hold the belief that Christianity and homosexuality cannot be viewed as reconcilable phenomena

“Based on Biblical principles…” Here comes a little list of things one may do based on Biblical principles:

Bible is supportive toward slavery (both in Old and New Testaments), so one may say trafficking is not something immoral, it is a part of “God’s design”. Apparently, for many homophobia is a part of God’s “Divine plan”.

Nothing to say except bringing few examples of Christian churches that do not share that belief (that it’s impossible to be gay and Christian at the same time): United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Church, all German Lutheran, reformed and united churches in EKD, all Swiss reformed churches in Swiss Reformed Church, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the Danish National Church, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Iceland and the Church of Norway, Church of Sweden conducts same-sex marriages, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America opens the ministry of the Church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships, Friends General Conference and the Friends in Great Britain approve of same-sex marriage, Episcopal Church. Most Pentecostal denominations strongly oppose homosexuality, but there is a growing number of denominations and independent churches that are fully accepting and will perform same-sex marriages. One such group, The Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals (GAAAP), traces its roots back to 1980, making it the oldest LGBT-affirming Apostolic Pentecostal denomination in existence.[27] Another such organization is the Affirming Pentecostal Church, currently the largest affirming Pentecostal organization, with churches in the US, UK, eastern Europe and west Africa. (From Wikipedia that is used by VO.X in their statement to explain away their homophobic stuff. Epic).

Despite the existance of these churches, hundreds of thousands of gay Christians, VO.X thinks homosexuality and Christianity are not reconcilable. I mean, OK, that’s his idea, OK. There are people that still think television is evil and is created by Satan, OK. Not to speak about the internet.

"OH WOMAN! You're a sinner, if you support the sinners! BURN IN HELL!" That's what many conservatives'd spit out. "Christianity and homosexuality cannot be viewed as reconcilable phenomena." Aram Rian of VO.X would say.

(This approach was reflected within the context of my music video “I Love Armenia”, which spoke of cherishing Christian values in traditional Christian Armenia).

What? What was reflected was that approach? Uhm… sorry?! I saw that clip and what I saw was a big… OMFG! Here’s the stuff:

0:22 — Save your country (from)

0:31 — Toxic waste

0:36  — GMO

0:39 — poverty

0:42 — abandoned children

0:46 — drug addiction

o:50 — perversion

(perversion — lesbians and gays… I wonder who these guys are? Do they know VO.X have used their images for such purpose?)

0:54 — trafficking

0:57 — prostitution

And later — air pollution, water pollution, desertification, unprotected against severe winters, unfit living conditions, cultural venues demolished, forgotten disaster zone, neglected historical sites…

and perversion is repeated in 2:33.

See all the stuff yourself:

Uhm… have you seen his message “Christianity and homosexuality cannot be viewed as reconcilable phenomena” in that clip? Was that the message? Or the message was that lesbians and gays are perverted? Did he say “homosexuality and Christianity are not reconcilable” in that clip or he did show that “being gay or lesbian is perversion”? Sucks…

I could have written several lines about “traditional Christian Armenia”, too, but not now.

What’s next? Nonetheless, by no means does that imply that I have ever intended to promote homophobia or hate towards sexual minorities through my musical career.

Oooooh my! How sweet! Yeah! “Gays, your lifestyle and behavior is just  nothing more but perversion, and as a Christian I don’t see you in my church, next to me. But no, it’s no hate! When my children and relatives see you rejected, when they see they may enter a church and be fully accepted as heteros, but a gay cannot, because he’s gay, NO! THAT’S NO HATRED! ZERO HATRED! That’s the truth, no hatred!”

According to a commonly known definition (also stated by Wikipedia), “the term ‘homophobia’ is often used inaccurately to describe any person who objects to homosexual behaviour on either moral, psychological or medical grounds. Technically, however, the term actually denotes a person who has a phobia – or irrational fear – of homosexuality. Principled disagreement, therefore, cannot be labeled ‘homophobia’.” My case is that of objection on moral grounds. Hence, I cannot be viewed as a homophobe, because, in fact, I am not.

Yea,the next sweet piece from that statement. A fabulous analogy was made that is included above: “It’s a bit like a racist going “how can I be xenophobic? If I was afraid of foreigners, I’d not chase them for a ruck, would I?”

Aha! Someone damaging gays psychologically is not a homophobe. Yeaaaaah!!!! If one disagrees Jews have the right to exist and to have their own country on this Earth, that doesn’t make him an anti-Semite, no sir! If a Turk says Armenian Genocide is nothing but a tale, when an Azeri states that Armenians are not native to this land, they shall go away leaving all Armenia for Azerbaijan, it’s no anti-Armenian!!! In the same manner, when one says homosexuality is perversion, no man! He’s not homophobic!  I lack self-esteem, I fear of rejection and physical abuse, because my sexual orientation is viewed and represented as deviant, pervert, dangerous etc, and no, those who do that (like VO.X in their clip), no they’re not homophobes. Who they are?

Being a human rights defender by nature and generally a peaceful tolerant person with a pacifist world view, I would never deliberately offend or discriminate any person or a group of people. Nor would I ever cross the boundaries, set by the amount of freedom of speech and expression assigned to me as an individual.

A human rights defender! OH YEAH! I can’t disregard the fact that I feel much safer now, now that people like me are represented as perverts. Oh! GORGEOUS! HAIL to the HR protectors!!! Protect and help me out more, pls! Protect me as a sexual minority by your clips more, PLZ!

Therefore, if it ever appeared that I was willingly offending a specific category of people through my musical activities, I can sincerely assure the persons concerned that I had never been driven by such a motive.

Oh, for God’s sake! No, no offense! If someone shouts at my face that I am a disaster for the nation inspired by VO.X’s creation, no of course that’s not their responsibility. No way! They humiliate me, they demonize me representing as if I’m a threat for the nation, and no, it’s not an intention to hurt me! For Christ’s sake, NO! They’re saints! They’re patriots! Hitler was not an anti-Semite, he was a patriot! VO.X is not homophobic, it is patriotic!

I sincerely regret that it all led to certain forms of misconception, I regret that people were offended by the above-mentioned video and I truly wish to settle the matter once and for all.

Surely, it IS a misconception! The classical “I am right, you are wrong” stuff. Yes, I am wrong. I shall applause and not criticize. I am blind! So sorry!

Aram Rian
songwriter, musician

In a place where homophobia is freely disseminated as a means to get more points and support… (in Mika’s blog: http://gayarmenia.blogspot.com/2010/05/homophobic-posters-in-yerevan-armenia.html)

"Say no to homosexuality" (on the right)

Interesting... VO.X didn't touch the "Witnesses of Jehovah". Well, here they are a wide-known target, too. They, too, are a threat for the nation's future. On the right, the poster in Yerevan's downtown is warning against homosexuality and erotic internet sites (hmm... erotic, but not pornographic?!).

VO.X was so heroic and innovative! BRAVO! Bravo! Bravo!

Fool me! Being gay, I still fight some of the issues VO.X mentions in their clip. Green environment, less poverty, more freedom and love, human rights protection and defense… me, too, I am deeply concerned with these issues. But I am a pervert, a fag… so sad and annoying!

I’d love to cry out “F*** you, VO.X! Do you think you’re the first or the only one to touch these issues? Do you think there aren’t patriots, also patriotic gays among them who fight all that stuff instead of complaining and showing what is widely known already? ” But I won’t do that.

Another act of homophobia that made me sad and took away some time from my life. I might have helped someone, I might have spent this time on better things. Your hypocrisy has taken away so much of my time, efforts, energy and mood.

And the British Council and the British Embassy in Yerevan to support them? UK and the BC in Yerevan are known for their wide support of human rights, for appreciating and praising the ideas of diversity and equality. And now, they support VO.X? In a nation where gay parades are sometimes sponsored by mayors or police itself… supports homophobia in a country where gays are defamed by some politicians and by the chief of police? Armenia now is like the most European countries were many decades ago. Britain is a place where gay activists may cooperate with police for organizing or leading prides, and here the main policeman claims it’s a shame to be gay. Just a random site to show London Pride (see “Tackling homophobia” part, where they cooperate with the ‘Mep Police’ …): http://www.pridelondon.org/about-us/charitableaims

Instead of advancement, instead of implementing the best practice of UK … you support homophobia by supporting a homophobe?

what the …????

That’s a bit of unpleasant surprise, especially after the wonderful thing the British Council did: 

UPDATE (30 April 2011). Good news, homophobia has been overcome…mutual understanding reached…that perversion part removed now… here are news from “Unzipped: Gay Armenia:”

VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s “I Love Armenia” music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.

Group of LGBT and human rights activists
Unzipped: Gay Armenia blog

For those who missed it: before, they had images of two guys (presumably gay) and of two girls together (presumably lesbian). The little change is these photos are taken away now, there is only “YOUR PHOTO HERE” thing… though the word “perversion” remains (and who knows what they mean by it)… for one homosexuality may regarded as perversion, for others the use of Eghishe Charents’ verse in such a song could be regarded as something perversion-like… let’s leave it to everybody’s imagination and mode of thinking, mentality & background…