Armenian PM stands up for transgender athlete against public bullying
Armenia is actively discussing financing provide by the Armenian government provided for a film about a transgender weighting athlete (ed. Mel Daluzyan, formerly Meline).
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in parliament on November 13 that he did not know about the government’s participation in the financing of the film, but is now proud of this fact.
Attacks on the athlete, who has been forced to leave Armenia and move to the Netherlands due to the public reaction, have intensified with renewed vigor.
Now in connection with the information about the film.
There were reports that Daluzyan was driven to such a degree of despair that he was ready to commit suicide. In this regard, the prime minister publicly announced that he was taking the transgender weightlifter “under his personal protection”.
The beginning of a public discussion?
The media actively discussed the film Mel beginning November 8.
Then, activists of the youth wing of the Dashnaktsutyun party raised this matter with the Prime Minister.
The prime minister met with them in connection with their protest rally demanding the resignation of the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports. Along with dissatisfaction with Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, the protesters presented the prime minister with a claim that the ministry had funded the film Mel with 20 million drams (about 40 thousand dollars), allocated from the state budget; a total of 14% of the total cost of the film.
Pashinyan then tried to explain to the activists that the ministry funded “only the part of the film that talks about the champion”. However, the prime minister’s explanations did not affect the opinion of the protest activists, and they are still continuing their protest demanding the resignation of the minister.
“Mel Davluzyan is under my personal protection”
During his speech in the National Assembly on November 13, Nikol Pashinyan has harshly criticised those who have with undisguised aggression opposed Mel and financing the film.
Pashinyan said the discussion and ‘hoopla’ raised around the issue was the cheap propaganda of the past authorities who have been ‘deprived of a feeding trough.’ Pashinyan said he had taken “Mel Daluzyan under my personal protection.”
He recalled that the film Mel speaks about an athlete whose record has not yet been broken and thanks to whom the national anthem of Armenia has sounded on the world stage more than once.
“A person had a problem that is not at all new to our reality … and has specific medical parameters. First, teammates learned about this problem, then coaches. Due to the reaction and attitude of society, this person … realized that the only solution to this problem was to leave Armenia.
“The modern world makes it possible to solve this problem, although people say that if God created it this way … Sorry, but we have children who were born with heart disease. God created them like that, let’s not treat them. There are children who are born blind. Will we leave them as they are?”
Pashinyan said that if the ministry had not financed the filming of this film, he, as a citizen of Armenia, would have thought that this government was ungrateful, since this person has done much for the country:
“When he is a champion, we take pictures with him, and when he has problems, we no longer have to deal with him?”
Mel Daluzyan’s story
This story began when Gyumri native Meline Daluzyan competed for Armenia as part of the women’s weightlifting team at the World and European Championships.
After she became two-time European champion and bronze medalist of the World Cup, Meline was forced to leave Armenia. The female sportswoman was under constant pressure due to her sexual orientation.
As a result, in the Netherlands, transgender Mel Daluzyan received asylum, since 2016 he has been living in Amsterdam.
By the way, in the same 2016 in Armenia a documentary film “Hear Me” was shot about the LGBT community. In the film, Daluzyan talks about the difficulties that he experienced in Armenia.
As for the movie Mel, which is currently being discussed, this is a love story of a same-sex couple, the struggle for the rights of sexual minorities. This is a story about how, under the influence of internal and external circumstances, the relationship between two girls changed radically.
Meanwhile in Amsterdam, Mel already has a respectable public reputation.
In May 2019, it became known that Daluzyan stopped the robbers in the center of Amsterdam tried to rob a supermarket cashier and threatened the cashier.
“At that moment, Mel, who came there to shop and saw what was happening, stopped the robbers. Police arrived at the scene and detained them. Unfortunately, before the arrival of the police, one of the robbers managed to inflict deep stab wounds on Daluzyan in the chest and back. Nevertheless, even after being wounded, Mel did not allow the criminals to escape,” wrote one of Mel’s friends on his Facebook page.
On this occasion, the mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsem said:
“Your action is heroic. I am proud that in Amsterdam there is a resident like you. I am grateful that you were able to effectively stop the illegal actions of masked robbers. I wish you a speedy recovery and assure you that the City Hall is ready to help you with everything you need.”
On his Twitter account, former Armenian Prime Minister Armen Darbinyan spoke out in support of Mel Daluzyan:
“I do not personally know Nikol Pashinyan … I applaud his statement today and declare: Mel Daluzyan is also under my personal protection. People, be people.”
But the two-time world weightlifting champion Simon Martirosyan on his Facebook page expressed the opposite opinion:
“The Prime Minister of Armenia supports the creation of a film about transgender people, and considers those who speak out against it to be a shame. What have we come to, people? Is this normal? For me it’s not. And it cannot be normal, as it is against our moral values.”
Social media reaction
Users of the Armenian Facebook segment are also divided into two camps. Here are some typical comments:
“A person is a person. And there are sick people. And there are a lot of them. You can never differentiate between people [like that]. [It is written] – ‘judge not lest you be judged.’
“This man, being Meline Daluzyan, raised the flag of his homeland more than once, and already being Mel Daluzyan was not afraid to detain the criminal and get stab wounds. Leave this man alone.”
“The emphasis is not there … We need to make a film about the champions, but not about their problems. There is a magnificent film about Tchaikovsky, about his divine gift, but not about his painful problem. In the end, what do you chant – a disease or an achievement?”
“When the Prime Minister himself discusses such topics, speaking from the rostrum of the National Assembly, I’m not directly overjoyed! This means that in our country there are no more problems – all our problems, as it turned out, have already been ‘solved’!”
“Do not sell your soul to the devil! The Bible is against it. And we are the first Christians in the world. And do not compare it with cancer and blindness.”
“People have had such problems at all times. But during the Inquisition they were called witches and burned at the stake. Now they’re not physically burned, but lynched morally, and sometimes they can be pounced upon by three or four others if if they feel impunity. Yes, not far from the times of the Inquisition, but now we are in the 21st century, not the 16th. ”