Rosie Vartyter Aroush to Speak at Abril Bookstore

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Rosie Vartyter Aroush

Rosie Vartyter Aroush

GLENDALE—Abril Bookstore and GALAS will present a special talk by Rosie Vartyter Aroush, Ph.D. titled, “A Life Of Otherness: The intersection of Queerness and Armenianness within familial and communal networks” at the closing reception of “The Many Faces of Armenians: A Celebration of Queer-Armenian Art” on Thursday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Roslin Art Gallery (415 E. Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205). Admission is free. For more information, call (818) 243-4112.

Diaspora as a permanent phenomenon and Los Angeles as host to one of the largest and most heterogeneous Armenian diasporan communities provide a fascinating backdrop for an expansive illustration on identity negotiation, family units, and community networks. Identity as a marker cannot be compartmentalized; parts of oneself are not divided into segments, but rather experienced as a complete whole made up of many ingredients.

What happens when people are not encouraged to accept their personal identity in all its diversity? What choices are made when one ingredient of their identity conflicts with another? This study discusses the struggles endured and strategies employed by Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) Armenians in negotiating and reconciling their multiple identities by constantly privileging then covering one over the other.

The research indicates that LGBQ Armenians use distinct disclosure strategies in approaching coming out with their family and community members, not only to belong in these heteronormative spaces, but also to maintain coexisting relationships. This project employs qualitative research methods and is based on a series of interviews with LGBQ Armenian adults aged 21-51 from Los Angeles, consisting of questions relating to their ethnic and sexual identity, familial relations, and community involvement. This talk will cover several emerging themes from the dissertation research findings: on negotiating identities, self-identifying ethnically, Genocide as an identity marker, shame culture, coming out, familial relationships pre- and post-disclosure, modes for resolution, reasons for antipathy, and conclude with a discussion on the significance of familial support and community inclusivity.

Rosie Vartyter Aroush has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she emphasized in Armenian Studies with a concentration in Gender & Sexuality Studies. She received her B.A. in Sociology and International Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation research investigates the role of the family and the impact of the Los Angeles diasporic community on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer Armenians while exploring the struggles endured and strategies employed in the negotiation of their identities. LGBQ Armenians have yet to be directly represented within the discourses of either LGBTQ Studies or Armenian Studies. As a pioneer in bridging these two fields, her research eliminates the current gap and promotes the growing body of knowledge in Gender & Sexuality Studies by adding Armenian to the representation of groups studied within the field.

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