GBT people remain oppressed in prisons


The Prison Monitoring Group, which Pink is a member of, has released its 2021 annual report.

In 2021, the group monitored the detention conditions of gay, bisexual and transgender people in prisons, as well as the attitude towards them, and found out that in 2021 discrimination against GBT people has not disappeared; in fact, it continues systemically. It is also noted that GBT people in prisons live together, separately from other prisoners, and their cells are mostly in poor condition.

It should be noted that due to the criminal subculture still preserved in prisons, homosexuality may sometimes have nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation, it is a status that is also given to convicts who have grossly violated the rules of the criminal subculture.

During the visit to “Armavir” penitentiary, the group found out that there is a separate payphone for GBT people, which others do not use. In “Goris” and “Armavir” prisons, the group noticed that food is mostly being served in disposable containers, or GBT people have their own bowls used for food. The mentioned circumstances once again show that in prisons things are separated for GBT persons, and other prisoners do not use them.

Cell conditions of GBT persons in Sevan and Goris penitentiaries

All of the GBT or associated persons live in prisons with each other separated from other prisoners, and their cells are generally in very bad and unpleasant conditions. During the visit to “Goris” penitentiary, it was recorded that after being transferred to the penitentiary, they were immediately placed in the cells intended for homosexual individuals. However, the administration claims that those persons were separated based on their application. It should be emphasized that such treatment of GBT persons in prisons is qualified as discrimination in the precedent practice of the European Court of Human Rights.

Trans women face another problem, who have to serve their sentences in prisons meant for men. Placement of imprisoned persons in correctional facilities is done according to the gender indicated in the passport. This means that trans women are placed in men’s prisons and trans men in women’s prisons, unless the gender mark is changed in the passport.

The group noted that a trans person in one of those facilities is kept separately in the medical ward for their safety. The head of the penitentiary says that in the case of a trans woman, they cannot understand where she should serve her sentence, because “the top is a girl, the bottom is a boy.”

To sum up, concerning keeping GBT people separate from other prisoners, the monitoring group notes that this practice in prisons is masquerading under the pretense of keeping the prisoners safe. In fact, this is a manifestation of discrimination itself, and it further deepens discrimination and stigma against LGBT people.