‘WELCOME JUST TO BE MYSELF:’ REGINA CHOIR OFFERS MUSICAL OUTLET FOR LGBTQ YOUTH

Regina Queer Youth Choir performs songs by LGBTQ artists, promotes safe environment for members

Members of Regina's Queer Youth Choir gather for rehearsal at SPACE for Saskatchewan Queer and Trans Youth. The choir welcomes LGBTQ members from ages 13 to 30. (Heidi Atter/CBC )

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.”

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