Transgender in Armenia : Nazik Armenakyan

Nazik Armenakyan In 2005, I studied photography in Armenia at the Caucasus Media Institute, Yerevan, under Ruben Magasaryan. For three years during that time, I also worked as a photojournalist at Armenpress news agency.

Armenia – Cross dressers and transgender women who engage in sex work have a more difficult time hiding their identities than other member of the LGBT community in Armenia. Transgender sex workers are more in danger and frequently assaulted. Many of them find themselves soliciting clients in the park because they can’t find other work. Many of them have had a difficult childhood: they were sexually assaulted at a young age, grew up in orphanages, or lived in socially insecure situations.  

‘Layma,30,many of transgender sex workers lived or live in Layma’s apartment. She has been working as a sex worker since 14 years old but she dreams of having another job’   Being deprived of family, education and employment, many of them have chosen the easiest though most dangerous way to make money: sex work. Many of them are gay men who, upon leaving home or being unable to find work, turn to sex work. To be a woman in a man’s body, to be desirable, to give pleasure… 1, 2, 5 years later it’s hard to think that they’re not transgendered. It’s no longer a mask – it becomes a way of life.   Written and photographed by: Nazik Armenakyan

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