‘Chaos campaign’: how an Armenian enclave became the center of an anti-LGBTQ+ battle

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01/29/2024

On a gray afternoon last June, the school board in Glendale, California, was preparing to make what was once a routine vote to honor June as LGBTQ+ pride month. School board meetings used to be pretty placid affairs. This year, however, cops in riot gear surrounded the building and helicopters hovered overhead. As Erik Adamian, an alum of the school district, waited in line to get inside the meeting, he heard demonstrators shout: “You are all a bunch of pedophiles!” “Stop grooming our kids!” It was a “display of hatred” the 30-year-old said he had never witnessed before that week. Adamian had arrived in Glendale from Iran in 2008 at the age of 14, joining the large Armenian community in the quiet, palm-tree studded suburb of Los Angeles. At the time, he said, he had been so deeply closeted that he was not even out to himself. But in the years since, he had become a LGBTQ+ rights activist, and the president of the largest queer Armenian organization in the US.

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