James Adomian on Being a Gay Armenian
In a 2013 interview with Serial Optimist, comedian and actor James Adomian spoke about being a quarter Armenian. In the excerpt below, he speaks about identifying as a gay Armenian, and why he feels deeply connected with his culture, despite only being a quarter Armenian.
Serial Optimist: So what was life like in your formative years? I know a thing or two about being an Armenian-American (Is that Greek?) but I’m totally clueless about growing up a gay man.
James Adomian: I’m a quarter Armenian, so while I don’t really look Armenian to most people, the struggle of the Armenian people is very important to me, and I follow Armo news pretty closely. Some might think that it’s weird or crazy or offensive that I identify as both gay and Armenian, but I think most people’s identity comes from a rich, complex tapestry of influences. I’m very proud of my evolving life and where I’ve come from – I can’t stop being me, but I can jump into it and enjoy it as long as it lasts.
I think most of the country still has no clue what an Armenian is anyway. They’ve been pummeled to death with idea that we are all like the Kardashians. Help us!
Armenians get unfairly maligned by a lot of Americans. I grew up in Los Angeles, and it still bothers me that Armenians are frequently a very easy target – for some reason we’re on the OK list for hacky racist jokes. I’m closer with second- and third-generation Armenians than with more recent immigrants, but I really love hunkering down with my Armo friends for chess and coffee and talking politics. Armenians may like to argue, but we are a very intelligent, capable and talented people who have survived horrific tragedies in our recent history. When you try to explain the Armenian Genocide to some white Americans, how they choose to hear it is, “Yeah, yeah, some jackoffs from Jackoffistan had a little problem a million years ago back in Babylon or something. “The truth is that the Armenian people were targeted for extinction by Turks only about a hundred years ago, and the Turks were largely successful, so all the Armenians alive today, including part-Armenians like me, live with that post-apocalyptic trauma forever on their minds.
The full interview can be found here.