One of the greatest, most prominent, nation’s favourite Armenian poet… These are only few of epithets widely used to describe Yeghishe Charents.
Armenians are proud of their famous representatives. They are proud of Parajanov, they are proud of Charents...
Still, only minority is aware of Parajanov’s sexuality. Even less people, very few in fact, are aware that their favourite poet is gay. It’s not ordinary Armenians’ fault. They simply do not know. It’s a classic example of hypocrisy of those in literary circles or so who for decades shut out this fact from his biography. Luckily, we have taboo breaking literary Inqnagir magazine (editor Violet Grigoryan), and we have taboo breaking journalists/writers like Vahan Ishkhanyan, who never shy away from tackling ‘difficult’ subjects, minority issues, alternative scene. I would also add here Armeniapedia which was the first Armenian online publication to post a list of famous LGBT Armenians.
Vahan Ishkhanyan is working with ArmeniaNow. Recently he started blogging on Tert.am. I recommend his blog (in Armenian).
In his latest entry, Vahan Ishkhanyan writes about hypocrisy in Armenian literary circles and gay Charents posting an extract from never before published in Armenia gay-themed poem by Yeghishe Charents. Full story with gay-themed poems by Charents are available in Inqnagir literary magazine (5th edition). It’s not available online yet, but you may get its printed copy.
*For more details - Unzipped: Gay Armenia
**Portrait of Yeghishe Charents by Martiros Saryan