GALAS Has Been Creating Community for 20 Years

Growing up with immigrant families as a LGBTQ+ person often creates conflict between one’s cultural and sexual identities. It’s not uncommon that this clash presents a need to compromise one for the other. Learning to live within a host of identities is, however, a lot easier if you live a city as large and diverse as Los Angeles. L.A. not only has a historically large LGBTQ+ community, it also has, according to the US Census, over one million foreign-born residents. This diversity is a part of the city’s identity as a place where immigrants, DREAMers, queer folk and independent thinkers can come to as a kind of cultural sanctuary.  Although people all across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum celebrate their intersectional identities in Los Angeles, it can still be a struggle to fully accept our cultural and queer identities as one.

- Advertisement -

One of the organizations in L.A. that is striving to create a safe and supportive space for all intersections of identity for people who grew up with a strong sense of culture is the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (GALAS). L.A. has one of the largest populations of the Armenian diaspora. Since its inception in 1998, GALAS has catered to Armenians in the local LGBTQ+ community, offering support, community, and service to L.A.’s diverse queer Armenian community. Although GALAS is located in West Hollywood, its services are available to different parts of the city as well.

Mel Saroyan, who has been with the organization since the beginning, remembers how far they have come since starting as means of creating dialogue and visibility within a culture that, like many, refuses to acknowledge gay identity. From providing booths at L.A. Pride marches to screening the revolutionary documentary bringing forth the stories of LGBT folk living in Armenia, “Listen to Me,” GALAS looks forward to acknowledging, supporting and empowering the existence of LGBTQ+ Armenians. In the years to come, Saroyan sees GALAS strengthening its commitment to open discussions on topics concerning the community and providing opportunities to do so that are often unavailable to them.

As GALAS celebrates its 20-year anniversary in 2018, board member Lousine Shamamian remembers the organization’s core values. “GALAS formed 20 years ago because people weren’t willing to abandon their Armenian identity in order to explore the rest of who they were, and in particular the way they wanted to love. GALAS continues to exist in order to facilitate and support this safe space which we see growing to one day include the homes of all Armenians.”

Family is a huge part of Armenian culture and acceptance from family members is imperative for queer Armenians. To encourage Armenian homes to become a safe space for LGBTQ+ people is the ultimate bridge that has GALAS works toward crossing as a monumental step forward for those struggling with the merging of cultural and queer identities. One of the ways that GALAS plans to incorporate family into the discussion is through Soorj Sessions. Drinking soorj, Armenian coffee, is tied deeply to tradition and family since it is often something that brings everyone together in order to sit, chat and drink. Bringing the experience of making and drinking soorj into a discussion about LGBTQ+ identity within the community will aid in a smooth transition into melding two identities that were assumed to be at odds. “Armenians sometimes feel stuck in the pre-Stonewall era,” Shamamian told The Pride L.A. “Armenians, like many other immigrant populations in the US, struggle with the intersectionality of their ethnic identity, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Ultimately, GALAS aims to garner enough support to help eradicate the thought that being gay is shameful and something that is not Armenian. “We also want to encourage the participation of our allies within and outside the Armenian community to join us and to help erase the word amot, which means shameful, from our vocabulary when it comes to addressing LGBTQI+ issues,” Shamamian stressed.

This is why organizations like GALAS are crucial to bridging those identities and creating a safe space that many Armenians, such as board member Erik Adamian, never even imagined would exist. “I had no idea a community of LGBTQ+ Armenians existed anywhere,” Adamian said. “We need LGBTQ+ Armenians to get involved with GALAS, to join forces to help destigmatize LGBTQ Armenian narratives, and to show everyone that we exist: we are Armenian, we are LGBTQ, and we are not going anywhere.”



  1. I beloved as much as you will obtain carried out right here. The comic strip is tasteful, your authored material stylish. however, you command get got an impatience over that you would like be handing over the following. in poor health for sure come more earlier once more since precisely the same nearly a lot steadily within case you defend this increase.

  2. What i do not understood is actually how you’re now not actually much more smartly-preferred than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore significantly in the case of this matter, made me in my view imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women are not interested until it is one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. At all times care for it up!

  3. Hi there! This is my very first reply on your website so I simply wanted to say a fast shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs that go over forex auto trading robot? I am also pretty hooked on this thing! Thanks for your time!

  4. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually annoying. A good site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  5. naturally like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.

  6. Al Hadi AC Refrigration and Repairing is committed to giving your ACs a new lease of life. We have a team of experienced professionals which has serviced more than a 1000 units, much to the satisfaction of our clients. The effort at Al Hadi has always been to service a call in the shortest span of time and to close it with a happy client. The referrals we get is a testimony to our work. Try our services today!

  7. Appreciating the time and energy you invested in your website and in depth details you provide. It really is good to discover a site occasionally that is just not the same out of date rehashed content. Excellent read! We’ve saved your website and I am adding your RSS feeds to my own real estate classes site.

  8. Hello! This is my very first comment here so I simply wanted to say a fast hello and tell you I really enjoy reading through your posts. Can you recommend any other sites which deal with types of rescue inhalers? I am likewise highly curious about that! Thanks for your time!

  9. Dr.Punnet and her Teams are really a great cheater in Delhi for IVF, initially they say we will provide world best technology but after getting all money they all can’t do any thing and again repeat cycle or again take money for evry cycle same money, they all are playing with the emotions of allots of couples, God will never forgive you Dr. Puneet. this is very bad clinic, this is only earning money nothing else, avoid this doctor, try in AIIMS, GANGA RAM ANY OTHER Government hospitals are better, all private IVF centre are cheaters, maainly Dr. Puneet is great cheater in Delhi.

  10. I personally arrived right here from a different web address related to weight loss and thought I should check out this page. I enjoy the things I see therefore now I”m following you. Looking forward to checking out the website again.

  11. There are certainly fantastic developments on the structure of your site, I certainly love that! My website is on the subject of recent sports news and now there are quite a lot of things to do, I am yet still a newbie in website design. Be careful!

  12. Are you tired of your ac repair in Dubai? Are you looking for Certified Professionals to carry out your ac repair with improved facilities and in an expert way?. Hot and humid conditions are not easy to tolerate, especially when you are not used to them. But, thanks to the air conditioners – living in such extreme settings can also become a pleasant experience, and more so if you are in Dubai.

  13. You’re totally correct, I would really enjoy to find out even more on this particular topic! I’m also captivated by monitor protective housing as I feel it truly is very unique these days. Keep this up!

  14. Good day, I am really delighted I came across your site, I basically found you by accident, while I was browsing on Google for facility systems. Nonetheless I’m here right now and would simply enjoy to say thanks for a marvelous blog post and the overall fun website (I too love the theme), I do not have enough time to browse it all at the moment however I have bookmarked it and moreover included the RSS feed, so when I have sufficient time I will be back to browse much more. Make sure you do continue the amazing job.

  15. You’re completely right! I really enjoyed reviewing this info and I will get back for more as quick as possible. Our internet site is on the subject of uber parking ticket, you could have a look if you happen to be interested in that.

  16. Hello there, I’m so excited I came across this webpage, I actually discovered you by error, while I was looking on Yahoo for test credit card numbers. Nonetheless I am here right now and would really enjoy to say thanks for a incredible post and the overall entertaining blog (I also enjoy the design), I don’t have time to browse it entirely at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so whenever I have enough time I will be back to look over a great deal more. Make sure you do maintain the superb job.

  17. ANPC is a free nation for and by the living men and women of the earth. This Private Nation is a grassroots association based out of Indonesia having its own International Charter, Peace Treaty, Constitution, Rules of conduct and has adopted the Declaration of Human Rights. These Treaties have been Registered by International Notice to the Hague and World Court as well as other agencies worldwide. The entire goal and mission of ANPC is WORLD PEACE and freedom for all the nationals of the world, focusing on a peaceful gathering together of all tribes and nations. Our living men and women are to live as Peaceful Inhabitants on the land, striving always to create a better world today and for future generations.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here