GLENDALE — The Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (GALAS) will host its third Soorj Session, a roundtable conversation between LGBTQ Armenians, their parents, families and friends to explore understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ identities and individuals. The gathering will take place in Glendale on Saturday, September 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It’s customary for Armenians to socialize by sitting down and sharing a cup of coffee (soorj). Through Soorj Sessions, GALAS aims to provide a safe space for parents, guardians and other family members who need help to harness support and reduce the stigmas around LGBTQ identities within the Armenian community.
The first Soorj Session, held in April 2018, was met with great enthusiasm with more than 25 attendees, including parents, family members and friends of LGBTQ Armenians, members of the LGBTQ Armenian community from the greater Los Angeles area, mental health and social work professionals, and GALAS Board members. Due to the overwhelming demand, Soorj Sessions are now a regular GALAS initiative and are held every other month. To protect the privacy of the attendees, the location and additional information about each Soorj Session are only provided to those who RSVP and confirm participation.
In its 20th year, GALAS is committed to expanding and further developing robust outreach and education programming to bring visibility to LGBTQ Armenian voices and create resources and safe spaces for LGBTQ Armenian youth, as well as their families and allies. Soorj Sessions are one of the initiatives that GALAS has planned for its 20th year. Additional programs include outreach and informative presentations on LGBTQ experiences for Armenian students and teachers, as well as the creation of a scholarship fund for college students of Armenian descent who have demonstrated LGBTQ activism.
GALAS encourages family and friends of LGBTQ individual to take part in its Soorj Sessions. The organization is always looking for parents and loved ones of LGBTQ individuals to speak at these gatherings in an effort to provide others with support and hope.For additional information on the next Soorj Session on Saturday, September 8, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit GALAS’ Facebook page at @GALASLosAngeles.