Armen grew up in Soviet Armenia and immigrated to the United States at the age of 19. He considers himself bi-cultural. Spending his childhood through young adulthood in Armenia has given Armen a unique understanding of cultural differences between Armenian and American societies. He hopes to leverage this understanding in bridging the cultural gap when it comes to LGBTQ issues.
After graduating with an Accounting degree from CSU, Northridge, Armen has worked in various accounting-related positions for about a decade while being involved in volunteering for various causes. Professionally, he has volunteered for VITA, an IRS sponsored low-income taxpayer return preparation service. Personally, he has been active with the local neighborhood council, the Yosemite Conservancy and other organizations. Recently, Armen was involved in organizing for a candidate running for public office. The experience has taught him that when people stand together, there is nothing they cannot accomplish.
As GALAS Board President, Armen is honored to be able to combine his experience in accounting with his expertise in public non-profit/organizing to move GALAS forward in achieving its goals. He is an optimist and always sees opportunities and solutions while facing adversity. Armen believes that ignorance is only cured with illumination. He is looking forward to serving his term by reaching out to cultural/business leaders and elected officials to create lasting alliances that advocate for more inclusive, stronger communities.
Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Shant has been close to a large yet distant Armenian community. Having attended Armenian schools, he grew up in an environment not always welcoming to the LGBTQ+ individuals. Despite his experiences, Shant has always felt a strong connection to his Armenian heritage and is looking forward to being an impactful advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in the Armenian community.
Shant has various interests in civic engagement. As a self ascribed relentless organizer who uses the Dewey decimal system in organizing his book collection, Shant intends to use his skills in helping GALAS accomplish its mission.
As the GALAS Board Secretary and Archivist, Shant is honored to be preserving and presenting the organization’s history. To create more inclusive communities, he is looking forward to contributing to educational outreach programs aimed at unifying the Armenian community at large.
Director of Communications
As a lover of Armenian art, poetry and music, Erik has been immersed in the Armenian culture and community since his early days in Iran. At the age of 13, he arrived in the United States and has ever since continued to be involved with the Armenian American community of Los Angeles through the Armenian Society of Los Angeles, GALAS and even through his academic career. In 2016, he graduated UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Civic Engagement, having completed two honors thesis research projects regarding LGBT Armenian Americans.
Previously, Erik has worked at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Human Rights Watch to help secure social justice for various minorities. Similarly, Erik’s involvement in GALAS is fueled by his passion for vocalizing the issues and concerns of the oppressed: in this case, LGBTQ+ Armenians. He is beyond proud of the beauty and the resilience of the Armenian culture; yet, he believes that such cultural and communal heritage must inarguably be shared with and be inclusive of queer Armenians.
Serving as the Director of Communications on the GALAS Board of Directors, Erik aims to effectively increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ Armenians in social media, academia, and among prominent Los Angeles based Armenian institutions and schools. In addition, he seeks to contribute to fundraising efforts, outreach, and community engagement.
A native of Los Angeles, Kyle Khandikian joined GALAS shortly after graduating from UCLA in 2014. In search of community and eager to work with other LGBTQ+ Armenians on issues he believes have long been ignored by the wider community, Kyle seeks to raise the voices and struggles of queer people of Armenian descent and other intersectional communities.
Kyle served as Director of Communications for GALAS in 2015-16. However, in late 2015, he moved to Yerevan, Armenia to participate in Birthright Armenia, a volunteer program for young Armenians living in diaspora. Kyle dedicated his volunteer service to PINK Armenia, the country’s only LGBTIQ+ organization. He was recently hired by PINK as a Project Coordinator.
Currently, Kyle serves as GALAS’s Armenia Liaison while living and working in Yerevan. In addition to GALAS, Kyle is a member and contributing writer for the Hye-Phen Magazine and Collective, a radical queer transnational Armenian collective, as well as a member of the Armenian Youth Federation’s United Human Rights Council. Kyle is passionate about restorative justice, human rights, and conflict resolution. His interests include writing, folk dance, history, and world music.
Director of Resources
Osheen Lucasian has been practicing law since 2010. In his prior practice, he focused on providing legal assistance to predominantly low income, mono-lingual Spanish and Armenian speaking clients around economic stability. He represented debtors in bankruptcy proceedings and creditor/debtor disputes, helping them to save their homes and protect their incomes.
Fluent in Spanish, Osheen is currently the Senior Staff Attorney at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, providing legal assistance to survivors of violence and hate crimes through the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project and the Anti-Violence Project.
Osheen has previously served as President and Secretary on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society and is currently the Director of Resources. His goal is to use his varied professional experiences to empower GALAS participants and provide them with holistic services.