Narek Harutyunyan used to live what he calls a “fake life.”
The 28-year-old from Armenia, who is now openly gay, was forced to conceal his sexual orientation from his family and friends while living in his home country.
Despite homosexuality being legal there since 2003, the country remains socially conservative, with many LGBTQ Armenians living in fear of being socially outcast.
“Inside of me, I was who I was,” said Harutyunyan. “And the inside person didn’t have any place to come out and say, ‘Here I am, here is the real me.’
“I understood that I was slowly and steadily killing myself [and] my personality.”