Lilit Martirosyan – Human Rights Tulip Nominee 2020
‘My main goal is to be an encouragement to others and to soothe the pain of my community,’ said Lilit Martirosyan, Armenia's first registered transgender woman. Her dream? A democratic, united Armenia that respects diversity, harmony and pluralism.
A safe space
Lilit is a LGBTI activist who has been committed to equal rights for all, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Despite unfavourable conditions, she managed to set up the Right Side human rights defender NGO in January 2016. This community-based, democratic organisation has become a home and a safe space for the Armenian trans community and sex workers. It is the first and only NGO in Armenia run by and for trans people and sex workers and helps more than 200 people every month. Right Side has three strategic directions: human rights lobby and advocacy; community mobilisation, safety, health and wellbeing; and public awareness raising and social and cultural change.
Involved in civic life
Lilit and her NGO organise a range of campaigns, training sessions and workshops on gender, sexuality, human rights and democracy. Her NGO helps vulnerable groups find jobs, get an education and actively engage in civic life. Right Side provides free legal and socio-psychological support. Lilit also uses art to promote equality. She organises festivals highlighting equality and diversity, photo exhibitions and creative social media campaigns. Lilit has contributed to the ongoing policy changes on hate speech. Partly thanks to her efforts it is now possible for Armenians to change the gender stated in their passport from male to female or from female to male without undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Lilit Martirosyan’s work is of great importance to the LGBT community.