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Thread: News Dedicated to Muslims lesbian,gay,bisexual

  1. #26
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    Shibl was a friend of Hassan’s, caught with another man in the baths of the shrine — a gathering ground for many gay men at the time. In 2002 he was beaten so badly in detention that he died of cardiac arrest. Ahmed, another friend, was arrested from his home later that year, accused of having sex with two other men in his flat and “forming a group of Satan worshipers.” In prison, he was forced to strip down to his underwear, then was humiliated and beaten to the point of hemorrhaging. After his release, he lost his job as a schoolteacher. One local paper wrote, “A male teacher puts aside all principles and follows his perverted instincts, putting on women’s clothes and makeup on his face to seduce men who seek forbidden pleasures.”

    Adel, a third friend of Hassan’s, was killed by an occasional lover. The ensuing investigation, not far removed from a witch hunt, resulted in many suspected homosexuals in Tanta being arrested, including Hassan. He and others arrested told me that they were held in a police interrogation room called “the refrigerator,” marked by a carpet brought in by the police that was caked in Adel’s blood. Detainees were tortured nightly for more than two weeks, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., according to the same sources. Hassan estimates that at least 100 men were detained and tortured. Some men were forced to stand on their tiptoes for those hours; others got electric shocks to the penis and tongue; still others were beaten on the soles of their feet with a rod called a felaqa, to the point of losing consciousness.

    Most men were held until they broke, agreeing to work as informants, walking the street to pick up other homosexuals and reporting in each night. “They told us Adel deserved to die,” Hassan told me. “They said they wished all gays would die.” This went on for at least a month, Hassan and others say, in a pattern of detention, torture, informing, more torture.

    On my second visit to Tanta, in August, I sat down for a lunch of kapsa, a sweet Saudi rice specialty, with Hassan and Mo, a slight student of English literature at Tanta University. The discussion turned to Islam and homosexuality. Both of them considered themselves practicing Muslims. Mo has combed the Internet for signs as to whether homosexuality is at odds with Islam. He said he had browsed the popular Egyptian lay preacher Ahmed Khaled’s Web site and found nothing. But he did see that Sheik Yussuf Al-Qaradawi had called homosexuals “perverts.” Al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric generally considered a liberal, is best known for his television program “Shariah and Life” on the satellite channel Al Jazeera, and for his Web site, Islamonline.

    “There is nothing clear about homosexuality in the Koran,” Hassan said. “It reads that the man who does it should be hurt. What does it mean ‘to be hurt’? In the Arabian peninsula they used a stick the size of this pencil (he raises my pencil) to punish men. It’s not like thievery or adultery. And anyway the Prophet was promised boys in heaven. Not girls.”

    “I read that one should have their head cut off or be thrown from a mountain,” Mo continued.

    Hassan disagreed: “There is no explicit punishment for gays in the Koran.”

    Mo countered, “The problem is not the punishment, it is the scandal.”

    Hassan, looking triumphant, told us that Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, had also spoken out against homosexuality. (Most famously, in 1990, he asked, “What rights are there for homosexuals?”) “It’s more complicated than you think,” Hassan said to Mo.

    Countless interpretations of the story of the prophet Lot — the source of much of the commentary on homosexuality in Islam, as well as in Judaism and Christianity — have been offered. Ambiguities abound, and while there is no consensus on where Islam stands, popular and legalistic reinterpretations take liberties in selecting the bits that suit particular worldviews — whether they are liberal or intolerant. In October of last year, the Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa against homosexuals on the Arabic-language version of his Web site. It was inexplicably removed last May (some say international outrage swayed the image-conscious cleric). And while Al-Qaradawi did call homosexuals sexual perverts, he also noted “there is disagreement” over punishment.

    Perched on a hill at the end of a windy road in Helwan, an industrial town south of Cairo and once the summer romping ground for the city’s well-to-do, is the Behman Hospital. With its pruned bushes and tennis courts, Behman looks more like a country club than a psychiatric institute. Dr. Nasser Loza is the medical director there; he is also an adviser to the Ministry of Health and runs a clinic in the upscale neighborhood of Mohandiseen. I had heard through friends that Loza counsels homosexual couples, so I went looking for him.

    “They come in with quite banal relationship problems,” Loza told me when we met one afternoon at the hospital. “They manage to have very normal, quiet lives despite society’s negative views about being gay.” He added that on average he sees about one new couple every two or three months. “I suppose most are high-level professionals, some are of mixed cultural backgrounds.” Loza’s patients are the people you hear less of in the din of discussion surrounding homosexuality in this part of the world. Take M., for example, a successful businessman who was among the 52 arrested on the Queen Boat. He has since moved to the States, and recently wrote me in an e-mail message: “Money gave me security. I met my partner at a dinner party. I could travel. And I didn’t have my family on my back because I had moved out. I had a normal life until this happened.”




  2. #27
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    Most often, Loza sees families. “Typically, a family comes in with their son or daughter who has just announced that they are homosexual,” Loza explained. “They want me to help. The first reaction on the part of the family is denial, and then incredible blame.” In 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, but Loza told me that “whether it is treated as a disease or not really depends on the doctor.” While a combination of counseling and antidepressants seems the norm, you still sometimes hear of the application of electroshock therapy.

    L., a lesbian originally from Alexandria, is seeing a Cairo psychiatrist. Women have not been subject to the same kind of attacks that men have been in Egypt, perhaps because of their relative invisibility — an invisibility that can itself be oppressive. It can be virtually impossible to meet other gay women. For L., the brunt of the problem is her family. “I’ve been to three psychiatrists, each time taken in by my parents,” she told me. “The first two prescribed antidepressants, they told me it was a phase, that I should ‘cheer up.’ The third prescribed electroshock therapy. I never went back.”

    In Cairo, L. is studying communications. She has nothing to do with her family and, through the Internet, has found a supportive partner. The weight of the stigma remains. “When a Muslim dies, there is a required 30 minutes of prayer,” she wrote to me in a recent e-mail message. “When a gay person dies, they bury him and flee.”

    T

    here is a searing scene in the Moroccan writer Mohamed Choukri’s 1973 novel “For Bread Alone” in which a desperate young man, having recently moved from the country to the city in colonial Morocco, sells himself to an elderly Spaniard. The scene is explicit (they have oral sex in a car), and the novel, which has been banned or caused controversy in many Arab countries, serves as a stunning condemnation of the power disparities engendered by colonialism. Symbolism like Choukri’s is common in Arabic literature and cinema, providing for what the British writer Brian Whitaker has referred to as a “reverse Orientalism,” in which sex, and specifically homosexual sex, is presented as a foreign incursion, a tool of colonial domination.

    Sometimes a stigma hangs over efforts to protect homosexuals from repression or attack. Negad Al Boraei, an Egyptian attorney and human rights activist, has irritated many in the local human rights community by a number of his stances, including his willingness to accept American financing for his work. (He readily dismisses his critics as “communists” and “revolutionaries.” He was one of the first recipients in Egypt of financing from the State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.) I went to Al Boraei to talk about how sexual rights fit into the broader human rights agenda.

    “I was telling a friend of mine who works for Amnesty International, we have a lot of problems here — torture, violations against street children, we are full of problems,” he told me. As he spoke he gesticulated wildly with his ring-covered hands. “To come in and talk about gays and lesbians, it is nice, but it’s not the major issue. It’s like I am starving and you ask me what kind of cola I want. Well, I want to eat first. Then we can talk about cola! It’s a luxury to talk about gay rights in Egypt.”

    When the raid on the Queen Boat occurred, much of the human rights community declined to take the case on, Al Boraei included. (Some activists even attacked those who met with the defendants.) Hossam Bahgat, a young Alexandrian working at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told me he was quietly dismissed after he wrote an article calling upon the human rights community to overcome its fears about working on the case. In the West, however, the Queen Boat became something of a cause célèbre. Amnesty International supported protests in front of the Egyptian Embassy in London. A Web site called GayEgypt.com called on Egypt’s homosexuals to wear red on the two-year anniversary of the Queen Boat raid (an invitation to be arrested, it seems), while 35 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, asking for a stop to the anti-homosexual crusade. It was no wonder that amid this, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram al-Arabi proclaimed, “Be a pervert and Uncle Sam will approve.”

    “This was framed locally as an attack from the West,” says Bahgat, who eventually collaborated with Human Rights Watch on the case and later opened his own organization, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “It was important to show that working for the rights of the detained was not a gay agenda, or a Western agenda, that this was linked to Egypt’s overall human rights record. Raising the gay banner when most sexual and other human rights are systematically violated every day is never going to get you far in this country.”




  3. #28
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    In the end, Human Rights Watch avoided laying itself open to easy attack as the bearer of an outsider’s agenda, packaging Queen Boat advocacy in the larger context of torture. Many of the arrested men were tortured, and torture is something that, at least in theory, most people agree is a bad thing. In Human Rights Watch’s 150-page report on the crackdown, references to religion, homosexual rights or anything else that could be seen or used as code for licentiousness were played down. Torture was played up, and it may very well be the first and last human rights report to cite Michel Foucault’s “History of Sexuality.” Upon release of the report in March 2004, Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director, and Scott Long, director of the organization’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project, met with Egypt’s public prosecutor, the assistant to the interior minister and members of the Foreign Ministry. Their effort seemed to have had some effect; although occasional arrests continue, the all-out campaign of arrest and entrapment of men that began with the Queen Boat incident came to an end. One well-connected lawyer noted that a high-ranking Ministry of Interior source told him, “It is the end of the gay cases in Egypt, because of the activities of some human rights organizations.”

    When I spoke to Long about his work on the Queen Boat case and its aftermath, he reflected on his advocacy methods in a context in which human rights, and especially gay rights, are increasingly associated with Western empire-building. “Perhaps we had less publicity for the report in the United States because we avoided fetishizing beautiful brown men in Egypt being denied the right to love,” he said. “We wrote for an Egyptian audience and tried to make this intelligible in terms of the human rights issues that have been central in Egyptian campaigns. It may not have made headlines, but it seemed to make history.” Whether the effort made history or simply interrupted it remains to be seen. Long himself noted, “The fact that the crackdown came apparently out of nowhere is a reminder that the repression could revive anytime.”

    The possibilities for official repression exist across the Arab world. Early one morning this past August in Saudi Arabia, the police raided a wedding party in the town of Jizan, arresting 20 men “impersonating women,” according to the newspaper Al Watan. Similarly, late last year, 26 men were arrested when a party in Ghantout, a desert region on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway in the United Arab Emirates, was raided. The press went into typical scandal mode, and images of some of the men in women’s clothing circulated on cellphones. A government spokesman was quoted in The Khaleej Times, “Because they’ve put society at risk they will be given the necessary treatment, from male hormone injections to psychological therapies.” Arrests have also taken place in Lebanon — despite its being perceived as having more liberal social mores — as well as Morocco.

    In Egypt, religiosity — along with an associated emphasis on public involvement in the private sphere — continues to rise. For the 2005 campaign the Muslim Brotherhood listed beauty pageants, music videos and sexy photographs as issues needing public debate; banning female presenters (even in veils) from state-run television and expanding religious education in public schools were also on the agenda. The brotherhood won 88 seats. And in most cases, there has been complete impunity for perpetrators of attacks on gay men; individual officers responsible for attacks have been promoted or shuffled around. As recently as September, at least one entrapment case occurred in Cairo; a young man was lured via a chat site and tortured — badly beaten and subject to electroshock on his genitals — by the same office of the public morality squad that had conducted Internet-based entrapments.

    In the meantime, routine scapegoating of the West, and of its real and perceived agendas in the region, seems to be reaching new highs. The Egyptian government, despite its intimate strategic relationship with the U.S., has been increasing its rhetorical assaults on what is blithely reduced to an imperial, meddling West — ostensibly to parade its nationalist credentials in the face of America’s disastrous exploits in the Middle East. (In September, Gamal Mubarak, the president’s smooth-talking, Western-educated son and heir apparent, went so far as to dismiss Western initiatives designed to foster democratization in the region at a policy conference of the ruling National Democratic Party). Blanket attacks on what is vaguely referred to as “human rights” continue; in late August, Mostafa Bakry’s newspaper, Al Osboa, assailed Hossam Bahgat’s organization, along with an NGO that works on AIDS, for defending “perverts.” The ingredients for another crackdown exist in abundance in Egypt and the region at large.

    Today the Queen Boat continues to sit docked on the Nile, its name clumsily respelled “Queen Boot” in garish green neon. It is hardly the gay hangout it once was, instead catering to the very occasional budget tourist. Many dragged away by the police that evening five years ago have since left the country, and others keep a low profile, although there are signs that young people have begun cruising the Nile banks again and meeting on the Internet.




  4. #29
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    As I prepared to leave Cairo at the beginning of the fall, I received an e-mail message from M., the businessman from the Queen Boat, since relocated to the States. “I sit here, and the Americans talk about something called Islamic fascism, the Arabs go on about their values,” he wrote. “All of us, and I don’t mean gay men, I mean all of us who don’t fit the norm — democracy activists, queens, anything — it’s us who get branded as Western, fifth columnists. We pay the price.”

    Negar Azimi is senior editor of Bidoun, an arts-and-culture magazine based in New York.




  5. #30
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    New law and old prejudices threaten Nigeria's gay community

    In the Muslim north of Nigeria, Bisi Alimi could be stoned to death for having gay sex. In the south, he could face three years in prison. Now, a proposed law would make it illegal just to share a meal at a cafe with gay friends.

    The proposal under debate in Nigeria's House of Representatives would outlaw not just gay marriages, but any form of association between gay people, social or otherwise, and publication of any materials deemed to promote a "same-sex amorous relationship."

    Anyone attending a meeting between gay people, even two friends in a private house, could receive a sentence of five years under the act. Engaging in homosexual acts is already illegal in Nigeria, with those convicted facing jail terms in the south and execution in the north.

    Few in Nigeria's deeply closeted gay community are publicly opposing the bill and it is widely expected to pass.

    "This meeting, right here, would be illegal," says activist Alimi, stabbing the air with a French fry for emphasis as he sits at a table with three gay friends and a reporter. "We could be arrested for talking about this. You could be arrested for writing about us."

    Other activities specifically prohibited under the proposed law include participating in gay clubs, or reading books, watching films or accessing Internet sites that "promote" homosexuality.

    Alimi's been trying to drum up united opposition to the legislation, but says Nigeria's homosexual community is so far underground and the subject is so taboo that it's been difficult. The 27-year-old activist is one of few openly gay Nigerians, having been "outed" by a university newspaper three years ago. None of his companions have told their families they are attracted to men. The risk of arrest, beatings or even death is why they requested that only first names be used for this article.

    "A few of my best friends know, but I don't have the courage to tell my parents," 23-year-old medical student Ipadeola says.

    "I don't tell people because it is none of their business," says Mukajuloa, a 21-year-old beautician. "Do heterosexual men go around telling the world they are attracted to women?"

    Haruna Yerima, a member of Nigeria's House of Representatives, portrays the legislation as aimed at stamping out something already well under control.

    "It's not really such a big problem in Nigeria, we just want to prevent such occurrences (gay marriages) from happening here," he says.

    Yerima said he approved of the limitations on films and books because they could be used to "make such practices popular." Even social contact between gays should be limited, he said, because it might encourage behavior that was "against our culture...against our religion."

    Alimi's friends say the bill will make a difficult life even more dangerous. Families already often cast out gay children and neighbors turn against gay friends.

    Civil rights organizations and human rights lawyers have said that the bill could also be used to deny legal representation to gay people who have been arrested.

    Attitudes toward gays in Nigeria are typical of those across the continent. In neighboring Cameroon, Amnesty International says accusations of homosexuality and anti-gay laws have been used as a weapon against political opponents. South Africa legalized gay marriages last month in fiercely debated legislation, making it the only country on the continent to do so. But the impetus was more a desire to stamp out all forms of discrimination in a reaction to apartheid than tolerance of gays, who are subject to prejudice and violence in South Africa.

    The hostility in Nigeria means that there are very few gay or lesbian organizations in Nigeria. Oludare "Erelu" Odumuye — the nickname means "queen mother" in Yoruba — heads one, Alliance Rights. Odumuye said he has been harassed in the street and detained by police accusing him of promoting homosexuality and running an unregistered organization.

    "That bill would criminalize me if it was passed into law. It would criminalize my organization, it would criminalize my friends," he says.

    Thousands of people use Alliance Rights for health services, to gather information or to meet, Odumuye says. To avoid harassment, they have no set membership list and their buildings are not in town centers or identified by signs.




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    Visitors find them through word-of-mouth, Odumuye said. To give an idea of their size, he says the group received more than 1,500 responses to a recent health survey among homosexual Nigerians.

    Odumuye argues that the bill is aimed at pleasing the ruling party's political base — which includes powerful religious groups — ahead of April elections.

    Nigerian Anglicans split with the American Episcopal church over the ordination of a gay bishop and many in the country say they want to prevent anything similar to the South African legislation.

    But Akin Marinho, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, says that bill's prohibitions are illegal under Nigeria's constitution and international treaty obligations. Not only does the bill affect freedoms of speech and expression, but foreign companies could face lawsuits if gay or lesbian staff are unable to take up positions in Nigeria, he says.

    "It's a civil liberties issue as well as a gay rights issue," Marinho says. "Under this bill, anyone watching 'Brokeback Mountain' or even 'Will and Grace' could be prosecuted ... it could also infringe on lawyer-client relations," he says, pointing out that the vague wording of the bill could interpret a meeting between a gay client and a lawyer as a meeting designed to promote same-sex relationships.

    Even some conservative religious leaders say the bill goes too far. Though Bishop Joseph Ojo, who presides over the congregation at the evangelical Calvary Kingdom Church, says gay relationships are "foreign to Africans" and should be outlawed, he adds that homosexuals should "have freedom of speech and expression."

    Nigerians have been publicly flogged, exhibited before the press naked, or beaten severely in prison after being charged with homosexuality. Alimi's companions say they're wary of voicing too much opposition to the new law out of fear of arrest. Death sentences have been meted out in the north, though no one has yet been executed.

    "There is a lot of ignorance, and that is why people are afraid," Alimi says. "But we are not willing to come out and say, yes, I am gay. Here I am. I am human too."




  7. #32
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    اردلان، پزشک جوانی که تنها "کاشکی" زندگی اش، آشکار شدن "حقيقت" شخصيت او و همسانانش برای مردم است، اشتياق عبور از خط قرمز سنتی "مرد بودن" و قدم گذاشتن به دنيای "مرد"های متفاوت را برايم ايجاد کرد؛ مردهای متفاوتی که عوام به سخره و توهين "اواخواهر" و يا "همجنسباز" می نامندشان .

    سپيده دم؛ وقت رفتن

    سپيده دم آخرين جمعه ی پاييزی، صفير تلفن بيدار باش اردلان از خواب بيدارم کرد، به شکوه که "هنوز خوابی ؟" و ادامه داد به خنده که "پاشو خودت رو جمع کن ، همه چی خريدم که اونجا از گشنگی نميری ، ببين ضبطتت رو می خوای بياری بيار، ولی لطفا دوربين نيار. بچه ها می ترسن!"

    در حالی که هيجان در وجودم وول خورد پرسيدم : "تصميم گرفتين کجا بريم؟". با حوصله ای سخاوتمندانه، جوابی را که چندين بار در پاسخم گفته بود تکرار کرد: " کوه ".

    ترس و احتياطی ذاتی که انگار با عرف و فرهنگمان آميخته شده، به سراغم آمد : "اونجا که خيلی تابلوئه!" خاموشم کرد با طنزی آکنده از کنايه: "باز شاه بخشيد، شيخ علی خان نه. پاشو ، اول ميرم دنبال بچه ها، نيم ساعت ديگه اونجام زنيکه! "

    ساعت به شش نرسيده بود که خودروی پر از سر و صدای اردلان جلوی پايم ترمز زد. پيش از اينکه در را باز کنم پنجره را پايين داد و گفت : "آقا خوشگله سوار ميشين؟" يکی از چهار سرنشين صندلی عقب هم ادامه داد : "وای نه ... نيا تو، بذار حجابمو سرم کنم. خاک به سرم نا محرم ..."

    بين خنده يا قرمز شدن، خنده را انتخاب کردم و جلوی ماشين نشستم.

    اردلان (که شخصيتش به خشکی معمولش نيست و گويا نقاب از چهره برداشته) معرفی می کند: "دوست خانوادگی ام علی... ( صدايی از پشت شنيده شد: جوووون ) علی جون، اين خانوم خانوما که سمت راسته ، اسمش نيماست بهش می گم نسرين. اين يکی هم اميده ولی آرزو بيشتر بهش مياد، اين شاسی بلنده اسمش شهياره ولی بهش ميگيم اشرف بلنده، اون ريزه هم که ريش پرفسوری گذاشته مهياره ولی بهش ميگيم مهستی!"

    دستش را دراز می کند، ريش مهيار را می گيرد و ادامه می دهد : "خاک به سرم، مادر می بينی دوره ی آخر زمون شده، خانومه ريش داره!" و قاه قاه می خندد و با تکانی شديد ماشين را به سمت دربند به حرکت در می آورد.

    گرچه آفتاب بالا آمده ولی سايه چنارهای خيابان وليعصر آنقدر هستند که خيابان را همچنان تاريک نگه دارند.

    به تجريش که نزديک تر می شويم، در ماشين و ذهنم، هر دو ، فضای غريبی است. در حالی که جلال همتی با صدايی بلند می خواند و اردلان پشت فرمان و سرنشينان ديگر در عقب، بی تفاوت به نگاه های کنجکاوانه عابران می رقصند، تلفن مهيار ( مهستی ) زنگ می خورد: "الو ... سلام عشق من! آره ما نزديکيم... بشين تو ماشين. هيزی نکن، کسی رو هم نيگا نکن تا من برسم..." و به خنده ادامه می دهد: "خدا شاهده اگر بشنوم به خانومای ديگه نيگا کردی، با ناخون های لاک زدم چشمتو در ميارم."

    آرايشگاه سيار

    اردلان حالی ام می کند که مهيار با زوجش که "دوست پسر" می خواندش صحبت می کند و با حرکت دست می خواهد که گوشم را به دهانش نزديکتر کنم: "بچه ها با زوج هاشون ميان. می دونی ديگه مادر، مردا عقلشون به چشمشونه؛ خانوما می خوان يه کمی به ظاهرشون برسن. يه کمی صاف و صوف تر کنن. مجبورم يه چند لحظه وايستم يه جای خلوت تا مهيار و نيما يه کمی چيز ميز بمالن به صورتشون. شهريار و اميد هم هنوز کرم پودری نشدن مادر! يه موقع اگر چندشت ميشه، می تونی پياده شی قدم بزنی تا زنيکه ها کارهاشون تموم شه!"

    اردلان در کوچه ای نزديک به کاخ سعدآباد می ايستد. در ماشين می مانم. دوستانش (که در وقت دعوا و بگو مگو "زنيکه" خطابشان می کند) کيف هايشان را گشوده و محتوای را با يکديگر تقسيم می کنند: "زنيکه کرم پودر نمره 10 رو بده !... اوی نسرين پاچه ورماليده سايه تو کجا قايم کردی" در همين حين است که جرات می کنم به جزئيات صورتشان دقت کنم.

    بين ۱۸ تا ۲۴ سال سن دارند. ابروهايشان را کمی دستکاری کرده اند و همين... آرايششان زياد مشخص نيست، يا شايد من حرفه ای نيستم!

    فرصتی هم پيدا می کنم تا نقش اردلان را درک کنم. مراقب است همه چيز خوب باشد. مدام وارد بگو مگوی دوستانش (که او را مادر می خوانند) می شود که "دخترا با هم مهربون باشيد". نقش يک "مادر روشنفکر" را خوب بازی می کند.

    نيم ساعت بعد روبروی يک اتوموبيل گران قيمت در ميدان دربند ايستاده ايم. اردلان با لحن خاص خودش که با وجود دو سال دوستی برايم تازگی دارد توضيح می دهد : "اين ماشينه مال شوهر آرزوئه! اون قد بلنده اميره، شوهر نسرين. مو بور خوش هيکله شوهر منه. شوهر شهريارم اون پسره است که عين دی جی اليگيتوره. مهستی هم مطلقه است فعلا!"

    همه يکسان نيستيم

    از ماشين بيرون می آييم و با چهره های جديد آشنا می شوم که هرچند آنها نيز همجنسگرا هستند، اما ظاهر و خلق و خويشان بر خلاف نمود "دخترانه" همراهانم، بر اساس معيارهای سنتی جامعه کاملا "مردانه" تلقی می شود.

    پس از سلام و چاق سلامتی، کوه پيمايی آغاز می شود و سوال های من نيز!

    فربد، زوج شهريار ، برايم از گرايش های متفاوت همجنسگرايی می گويد: "اولا از نظر آماری، خيلی از مردها بايسکسوال هستند، يعنی هم گرايش دارن با جنس موافق سکس داشته باشن و هم با جنس مخالف اما گذشته از اين حرفها ممکنه يک همجنسگرا تاپ باشه يعنی فعال، يا ممکنه باتوم باشه يعنی مفعول. ممکنه حد وسط اين دو باشه که بهش می گيم ورستايل. همجنسگرا ممکنه ترانس باشه يعنی مشتاق به تغيير جنسيت، اما الزاما همه همجنسگراها خواهان تغيير جنسيت نيستن."

    اردلان که به گفته خودش می خواهد يک بار برای هميشه "آب پاکی روی دست من بريزد"، گوی صحبت را از بقيه ربوده است و بی وقفه حرف می زند.

    او در پاسخ به سوال من در زمينه زندگی زير زمينی شان، می گويد: "ببين تو الان با ما اومدی بيرون! ما طوريمونه ؟ الان من شاخ دارم ؟ نه عزيزم... مشکل اينجاست که مردم براشون مساله همجنسگرايی اشتباه جا افتاده. ما هم مثل همه انسانيم. می خوريم، می خوابيم و کار می کنيم.

    "شايد از خيلی از آدم های به اصطلاح معمولی (نيما وارد حرفش می شود: ما معمولی هستيم، کسای ديگه غير عادين!) هم موفق تر باشيم. تنها تفاوت ما با مردهای ديگه اينه که در مسايل جنسی يک جور ديگه فکر می کنيم و نگاهمون با اکثريت متفاوته.

    "پس ما نه مريضيم، نه روانی، نه غير عادی، ما فقط يک اقليت جنسی هستيم. منتها مشکل اينجاست که در فرهنگ ما به طور کلی مسايل جنسی هميشه تو زير زمين و خفا بوده چه برسه به اقليتهای جنسی!"

    از مدرسه تا اينترنت


    می پرسم کی و چگونه متوجه گرايش های جنسی متفاوت خود شده ايد، شهريار پاسخ می دهد: "خوب از همون اوايل بلوغ وقتی همه داشتن دختربازی می کردن، من احساس و دلم حمايت های يک مرد رو می خواست."

    شيطنتش گل می کند و چنين ادامه می دهد : "به هر حال اگه می خوای نترشی بايد از روز اول چشم چشم کنی تا بالاخره شوهر دلخواهتو پيدا کنی ديگه خواهر، منم اولين بار با يک همکلاسی تو دبيرستان يه همچنين احساسی رو داشتم، عاشقش شدم. شب و روز جلوی چشمم بود. .اونم ناخواسته همين حس رو نسبت بهم داشت، همه اش حمايتم می کرد، واسه من جلوی همه وا ميستاد. جريان ادامه داشت تا اينکه عقدمون رو رسما اعلام کرديم. البته اون يه سال بعد رفت کانادا و من تا مدتها بعد حالم گرفته بود ولی خوب خدا پدر و مادر کاشف اينترنت رو بيامرزه که نميذاره ما کپک بزنيم!"

    اميد که تا آن لحظه ساکت بود، حرفهای شهريار را چنين ادامه می دهد : "چطور پسرا ميرن دنبال دختر بازی، خب ما هم ميريم دنبال پسر بازی! تو خيابون اگه پسر خوش تيپ ببينيم نگاهش می کنيم و ممکنه حتی بهش نخ هم بديم و از اون باحالتر اينکه ممکنه جواب هم بگيريم!"

    شاخ در می آورم، چنين کاری جرات می خواهد. مهيار که فعلا با کسی رابطه احساسی ندارد ادامه می دهد: "آره مثلا ديروز رفته بودم خريد کنم. يه پسره بود انقدر خوب بود که داشتم از شدت هيجان می مردم. انقدر بر و بر بهش نگاه کردم و زل زدم تا خودش اومد جلو و بهم شماره تلفن داد! ولی بعد فهميدم که به دردم نمی خوره."

    نگاهم می کند و پيش از "چرا"ی من، پاسخ می دهد: "قرار نيست هر پسری رو که ديديم بچسبيم بهش. اون ظاهرش خوب بود ولی چيزهايی رو پای تلفن خواست که من هيچ وقت انجام نمی دم. اون فقط سکس می خواست ولی من دنبال يک رابطه عاطفی هستم."

    ترس و تظاهر


    به نقطه تقريبا خالی در جمعيتی از کوه می رسيم . فرصت می کنند تا کمی با هم خودمانی شوند. می فهمم که بايد به دنبال نخود سياه بروم تا راحت باشند. مهيار هم می آيد.

    نظرش را در مورد ديد مردم نسبت به "همجنسگرايی" می پرسم، نگاه تلخی می کند و جواب می دهد : "ببين خسته شدم انقدر متلک شنيدم. انقدر بهمون گفتن «اواخواهر»، از همه کلماتی که از اين دسته متنفرم. ما بين خودمون نميگيم فلانی همجنسگراست يا نه، به جاش ميگيم فلانی خوديه ؟ يا فلانی هم با شعوره مثل خودمون؟ هر وقت کسی منو مسخره می کنه ، آرزو می کنم وقتی ازدواج کرد و بچه دار شد خدا بهش يه فرزندی بده که همجنسگرا باشه... همين !"

    بار ديگر تلفن همراه پرترافيک مهيار زنگ می خورد، مادرش روی خط است: "نه مامان، ناهار رو که خورديم بر می گرديم... نه، توچاليم!"تلفن را که قطع می کند، پيش از سوال من توضيح می دهد: "به من شک کرده اند، همه اش با تلفن کنترلم می کنن، مجبورم دروغ بگم تا مبادا اينجا بيان و ما رو با اين وضع (به صورتش اشاره می کند) ببينن. يکی از مشکلات زندگي ما همينه. بايد چند تا شخصيت داشته باشيم. شخصيت توی خونه و پيش خانواده، شخصيت اداره و شخصيت توی خيابون... خيلی سخته که آدم همه اش نقشش رو عوض کنه."

    به سمت "قرارگاه" بر می گرديم. بچه ها که حالا مشغول خوردن و خنديدن هستند به استقبال می آيند . اردلان ( گفته بودم که مادری حرفه ای و باتجربه ست!) بساط ناهار را پهن کرده و ديگران را (که به جد يا شوخی "دخترا" صدا می زند) به خوردن دست پختش دعوت می کند و "زنيکه"گويان، من را نيز!

    فرصتی می شود تا با مهدی، زوج اردلان هم صحبت کنم. از او می خواهم از "ترس"هايش بگويد: "ببين، ما ظاهرمون عاديه، خونواده هامون هم چيزی نمی دونن و اين مشکلترين قسمته قضيه است! چون می دونی يهو اگه هوس کنن برای ما آستين بالا بزنن چه اتفاقی ميفته ؟ من الان نزديکه سی سالمه. هر بار که طعنه پدر و مادر رو می شنوم که چرا ازدواج نمی کنی، وسوسه ميشم که حقايق رو بهشون بگم ولی می دونم اگر بشنون دق می کنن.»

    پس از ناهار ، به در خواست مهيار که تلفن های مکرر والدينش، لذت با دوستان بودن را از او سلب کرده ، به سمت اتوموبيل ها به راه افتاديم.

    در مسير بازگشت، بار ديگر توقف داشتيم. اما اينبار اردلان با بطری های پلاستيکی آب و دستمال کاغذی های مخصوص پاک کردن آرايش، "دخترانش" را برای بازگشت به آن سوی خط قرمزهای فرهنگی آماده می کند و با لحنی دو پهلو به اين سوال من که "شما خودتان را مرد می دانيد يا زن" چنين پاسخ می دهد : "ما مرديم ولی بر ميگرديم!"





  8. #33
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Labour has lost its heart and soul

    A 20-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker, Emmanuel Obahiaghbon, was deported two weeks ago, on the orders of the immigration minister, Liam Byrne. He was unable to get legal representation. His fresh claim, based on new evidence, was arbitrarily dismissed by the Home Office without any judicial hearing.

    This is the routine fate of thousands of asylum claimants under a Labour government. Due process of law is subverted. Objective, impartial consideration of their evidence by an asylum tribunal is often voided.

    The Home Office acts as police, prosecutor, judge and jury. Justice is non-existent for many asylum claimants. See here and here.

    Sure, there are some bogus asylum seekers. They should be removed. But I know, from my firsthand experience helping asylum claimants, that many people who are dismissed as frauds by the Home Office are, in fact, genuine refugees. They have fled terrible persecution, but in the government's panic to cut the number of people granted asylum, they are mistakenly (and perhaps sometimes maliciously) declared to be "failed" asylum applicants and scheduled for deportation.

    Emmanuel Obahiaghbon was genuine. He claimed asylum on the grounds of persecution because of his homosexuality. But his sexuality is not the key point. The way he was abused by the asylum process is typical of the fate of thousands of refugees fleeing many different forms of persecution - ethnic, political, religious, gender and sexual orientation.

    Emmanuel had been beaten up many times for being gay and gang-raped twice. When he tried to report the assaults to the police, he was threatened and abused. A psychiatrist visited him in detention in the UK and confirmed he had symptoms of trauma consistent with having suffered physical and sexual violence.

    At the end of November, Emmanuel was sent a copy of a Nigerian police warrant for his arrest on charges of homosexuality, and a Nigerian solicitor's letter stating that he had also been reported to the sharia courts and was likely to be sentenced to death by stoning (his region of Nigeria is subject to Islamic sharia law, which stipulates the death penalty for gay sex).

    The Home Office dismissed these new documents as fakes. I have no way of knowing for sure whether they were genuine. What I found reprehensible is that Liam Byrne's officials refused Emmanuel an opportunity to present the new evidence to an asylum tribunal and to get the documents independently assessed.

    Because Emmanuel had no solicitor, he appointed two of us from the gay human rights group OutRage! as his legal representatives. Acting on his behalf, my colleague Jill Power and I asked the immigration minister to suspend Emmanuel's deportation, in order to allow him time to find a new solicitor, make a fresh asylum claim based on the new evidence, and to get corroboration that the police warrant and solicitor's letter were genuine. This request was rejected by Liam Byrne, without any proper hearing.

    The deportation of Emmanuel is typical of the routine abuse of asylum applicants by the Home Office.

    He was given no chance to prove the genuineness of his new evidence. They bundled him onto a plane as fast as they could, to stop him from challenging their arbitrary dismissal of his letters from the Nigerian police and solicitor.

    Emmanuel faces an uncertain fate back in Nigeria. He is on the run and in hiding. After maintaining contact with us for the first week after he was deported, suddenly all communication has stopped. We fear for his safety. If the police, Sharia courts or gay-bashers don't get him, perhaps he'll just give up hope and kill himself.

    Male homosexuality is totally illegal in Nigeria. It is punishable by 14 years jail under criminal law and, in the Muslim regions, by stoning to death. Gay-bashing attacks are commonplace. As Emmanuel discovered, the Nigerian police are unwilling and unable to protect the victims of homophobic violence. Sometimes, the police are the perpetrators.

    The persecution of lesbian and gay Nigerians is about to get much worse. Nigerian MPs are expected to shortly pass a new law that will outlaw gay organisations, meetings of gay people, gay safer sex advice and the advocacy of gay human rights.

    Despite this perilous situation, Emmanuel's asylum claim was deemed by the Home Office to be unfounded. He was forced onto a plane by government-contracted security guards and deported back to Nigeria.

    Labour claims to support gay human rights, but we see little evidence of this support in the cruel way gay asylum seekers are treated by the Home Office.

    Labour ministers could stop these abuses, but they don't. They are personally responsible for deporting lesbians and gays who have presented evidence of being beaten up, jailed, tortured and raped. A lesbian victim of rape and torture was recently deported to Uganda. A gay Iranian who is at high risk of execution is scheduled for deportation on Boxing Day.

    Labour has lost its heart and soul. It seems more interested in pandering to the anti-asylum hysteria of the Sun and the Daily Mail, than in ensuring justice for refugees. Whether gay or straight, all refugees deserve a fairer, more compassionate consideration of their claims.




  9. #34
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Municipal elections in Iran last Friday gave a black eye to hard-line fundamentalist, ultra-homophobic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as his supporters suffered a string of defeats.


    The lack of confidence in Ahmadinejad was particularly strong in Tehran, Iran's capital, where his "Sweet Scent of Service" ticket won only five out of 15 City Council seats, and where his sister came in ninth, according to figures released by the Interior Ministry on Tuesday, with 80 percent of the vote tabulated.


    The largest block of seats was won by the list headed by incumbent Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bagher Qalibaf, a so-called "moderate" conservative who had been one of Ahmadinejad's rivals in the presidential elections last year that brought the authoritarian moralizer to power. Qalibaf's list picked up eight seats.


    Two seats were won by reformist candidates opposed to Ahmadinejad's theocratic rigidity.


    Since winning the presidency, Ahmadinejad has been leading a heavy-handedly repressive "cultural revolution," marked by the jailing of dissident intellectuals and journalists, the purging of liberal faculty members from the universities, a crackdown on the press and the Internet, and a relentless campaign of arrests of gay people, who have been subject to tight police surveillance, Internet entrapment, raids on private homes and parties, kidnapping, imprisonment, torture, and in some cases forced gender reassignment surgery and execution.


    Homosexuality has been a capital crime in Iran punishable by death since the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran and installed a severe religious regime based on Islamic Sharia law. According to the Iranian gay rights group Homan, more than 4,000 Iranian gays and lesbians have been executed in the two-and-a-half decades since Khomeini and his followers came to power.


    But most commentators agree that Ahmadinejad's failure to deliver on the "populist" promises of his presidential campaign and improve the economy were what motored the protest vote last Friday. In last year's campaign, Ahmadinejad said he would use his country's oil revenue for the improvement of ordinary Iranians' lives.


    But rampant inflation and stagnant wages, an iron-fisted campaign against labor unions (characterized by arrests of their leaders and government strike-breaking), new labor legislation that favors employers and makes it easier to dismiss workers without cause, and an aggressive program of privatization that is selling off all state-owned enterprises to big business have all combined to alienate some of the working class and economically disadvantaged voters who had been a key element of Ahmadinejad's 2005 electoral victory.


    However, outside the cosmopolitan urban centers like Tehran, in the provinces, support remains strong for Ahmadinejad, Iranian political analysts say. And Ahmadinejad will remain in office at least until the next presidential election in 2009.


    These election results do not mean that there will be any waning of Ahmadinejad's repressive "cultural revolution" and its anti-homosexual purge.


    "Nothing major will happen" as a result of these municipal elections, said exiled Iranian political scientist Saeed Rahnema from Toronto's York University, "but it's an important signal. It sends a message to Ahmadinejad that despite the fact that he has the big machinery for mobilizing the masses, the rest of the public is not happy with him."


    This electoral slap in the face to Ahmadinejad came despite his regime's aggressive campaign to discourage voter participation.


    "In order to defeat reformist candidates who have somehow survived the disqualification procedures and still appear on the ballot, the Judiciary, the ministries of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Information, and Domestic Affairs, the state-controlled radio and television, and the conservative newspapers were all mobilized to ensure low participation of the electorate," said Iranian émigré Behrooz Ghamari, a professor of history and sociology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and author of the forthcoming book "Islam and Dissent in Postrevolutionary Iran" (St. Martin's Press).


    Moreover, Ghamari added, "The judiciary spokesperson threatened the newspapers that ran front-page news of the election with closure and censure." But overall turnout across the country was about 60 percent of the roughly 46 million eligible voters, the Interior Ministry said. Turnout in last year's run-off election that made Ahmadinejad president was also 60 percent. The country's population is around 70 million.


    There were also elections last Friday for the 86-member Assembly of Experts, an all-mullah body that appoints, for a life term, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (The current Supreme Leader is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.) In those elections, Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor, fanatical fundamentalist Ayatollah Mohammed-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, came in sixth. Mesbah-Yazdi, who appears frequently in public with Ahmadinejad, is the de facto head of the Hojatieh-a secretive society, founded in the 1950s to purge Iran of the minority Baha'i faith-which has since become a redoubt of the most hard-line homophobic fundamentalists.


    According to Agence France-Presse, Mesbah-Yazdi has aggressively argued for increased use of public floggings and executions for homosexuality as "immoral behavior," saying both forms of punishment are a "fundamental principle" of Islam.


    "If the Westerners do not like it, that is their problem," he was quoted as saying, "but the death penalty and the use of flogging are fundamental principles of our religion."


    There have been reports that Ahmadinejad's mentor wanted to use last Friday's elections as a springboard to eventually replace Ayatollah Khameini as Supreme Leader, but Mesbah-Yazdi's poor showing suggests that was a still-born wish. First place in the elections for the Assembly of Experts went to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, beaten by Ahmadinejad in last year's presidential race; he was re-elected to the Assembly with 1.56 million votes, well ahead of the 880,000 votes garnered by Mesbah-Yazdi. However, when Rafsanjani was president he was shunned by Iranian reformers, who considered him a part of the conservative establishment.


    Still, last Friday's strong protest vote against Ahmadinejad and his followers underscores the folly of a military attack against Iran if one hopes to see the end of his rule. Without exception, the democratic Iranian opposition to Ahmadinejad has insisted that, in the words of Iran's leading dissident, Akbar Ganji-a journalist released earlier this year after six years imprisonment for his views-"the regime will crush down the opponents harshly after such an attack and will close the political atmosphere completely. Iranian people and patriotic intellectuals will rise to the regime's support in case of a foreign attack and the regime will be strengthened instead of being toppled."


    The elections are not the only evidence of discontent with Ahmadinejad. The opposition is becoming increasingly vocal.


    For example, an educational, door-to-door "One Million Signatures Campaign" by younger women's rights activists envisions a future "where powers, opportunities, and social goods are not divided based on gender differences or sexual orientation," according to another leading Iranian scholar, Professor Nayereh Tohidi, the chair of the Women's Studies Department at California State University, Northridge and research associate at the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA.


    Another example: on December 6, Iran's annual Students Day, thousands attended a protest demonstration on the campus of Tehran University organized by Tahkim Vahdat, the country's largest student organization. Security forces at first tried to block entrances, but students eventually succeeded in breaking through the main gates.


    Armin Salmasi, a member of the Council of Islamic Students, said, "They have sent our professors into early retirement, prevented many students from continuing their studies, forbidden not only protest, but even the act of breathing freely, and transformed our universities into military garrisons. Don't think that our patience is unlimited. Someday, the pot will boil over."


    Five days later, several dozen student hecklers interrupted a December 11 speech by Ahmadinejad, throwing firecrackers, burning a poster with his portrait, and shouting "Down with the dictator!" A military attack on Iran, as Ganji has pointed out, would give Ahmadinejad the renewed public support he needs to ruthlessly stamp out these harbingers of growing sentiment for democracy and reform -and would ruin the chance for an electoral breakthrough by the anti-Ahmadinejad forces in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2008.




  10. #35
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    When she speaks, he's breaking all of Islam's taboos

    KARACHI, Pakistan: Ali Saleem may have devised the perfect, if improbable, cover for breaking taboos in conservative, Muslim Pakistan.

    In a country where publicly talking about sex is strictly off limits, Saleem has managed not only to bring up the subject on his prime-time television talk show — but also to do it without stirring a backlash from fundamentalist Islamic clerics.

    And he has done so as a woman.

    When Saleem takes to the airwaves, he is Begum Nawazish Ali, a coquettish widow who interviews Pakistan's glitterati and some of its top politicians.

    A real woman could not possibly do what Saleem does. In the unlikely event a station would broadcast such a show, the hostess would be shunned. And taking on the guise of a married woman — whose virtue is crucial to her whole family — would be equally impossible.

    But apparently a cross-dressing man pretending to be a widow is another matter entirely.

    It is something of a mystery why a man who openly acknowledges being bisexual is a sensation here. Traditional Islamic teaching rejects bisexuals and gays, and gay Pakistanis have few outlets for a social life. The gay party scenes in Lahore and Karachi are deep underground.

    Saleem has his own theory for his popularity: He thinks Pakistan has always been more open than outsiders believed.

    It is true that Pakistan is, in a sense, two countries. There is urban, and urbane, Pakistan, where Western mores are more accepted, although nudity would never be seen on television or scantily clad women on billboards. And then there is rural Pakistan, where Islam is generally practiced with more fervor.

    It is also true that the Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, is relatively tolerant about what the media can show and cover, including politics. Although Musharraf came to power in a bloodless coup conducted by the military in 1999, he has been more open to political criticism in the press than some of his democratically elected predecessors.

    Saleem, 28, is thrilled with his success for reasons that are both political — he is proud to be breaking ground in bringing up tough subjects — and profoundly personal. "My biggest high is to see myself gorgeous in the mirror," he said recently while reclining in a makeup-room chair. As a beautician outlined his eyes, adding glitter and eye shadow, he said, "Maybe, yes, I am a diva."

    It is hard to judge how successful Saleem's show is, as there are no viewership figures available. And there are clearly people who find the show revolting.

    But by many measures, it is a success. Television critics have been generally supportive, and the show, which has been on for a year and a half, has a prime-time slot despite its name, "Late Night Show with Begum Nawazish Ali." Saleem said that it was named for its racy content, usually shown late, but he said the network scheduled it earlier hoping for a hit that would bring in more advertising revenue.

    Urbanites, meanwhile, seem not to be able to get enough of the once-a-week show, which is rerun twice each week. They have showered praise on Saleem's portrayal of a middle-aged widow who, in glamorous saris and glittery diamonds, invites politicians, movie stars and rights advocates from Pakistan and India into her drawing room.

    With fluttering eyelids and glossy lips, Begum Nawazish Ali (Begum is Urdu for Lady or Mrs.) flirts with male guests using suggestive banter and sexual innuendo. With female guests, she is something of a tease, challenging them about who looks better. Questions are pointed and piercing. Politics, democracy and saucy gossip are enmeshed in her conversation.

    Saleem sees the show's acceptance and commercial success as a testimony to the tolerance and moderation of Pakistan, a country often seen by the outside world as teetering on the edges of militancy and extremism.

    Colorful and witty, Saleem is open about his own sexuality and sprinkles his conversation with gender-bending phrases. "My life fluctuates between two extremes," he said. "I always say this: I am a man and I am a woman. It is two gender extremes, and I am constantly trying to balance it."

    He is unabashed despite the criticism that his show often borders on raunchiness. "Sitting senators have sent requests to be on the show," he said.

    Saleem has also been willing to take on tough political subjects.

    He is openly critical of the army's role in ruling Pakistan, for instance.

    His show is not the only one pushing the envelope on that and other touchy subjects.




  11. #36
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Putting the Feeling Into Words

    Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East By Brian Whitaker University of California Press 264 pages; $19.95 in paperback

    When Tayseer, a Palestinian from Gaza, was 18, he was found in bed with a boyfriend by an older brother-and as a result was severely beaten by his family. His father threatened to strangle him if he ever had gay sex again.


    A few months later, Tayseer was invited into an orange grove for sex by an undercover police agent of the Palestinian Authority, and subsequently arrested. Police told Tayseer that the only way for him to avoid prison was to become a Judas goat, to lure other gay men into sex so that they, too, could be arrested.


    When he refused to be police bait in this entrapment scheme, Tayseer was hung by his arms from the ceiling. "A high-ranking officer he didn't know arranged for his release-and then demanded sex as payback."


    When Tayseer fled Gaza for Tulkarem, he was eventually re-arrested, and forced to stand in neck-high sewage water with his head covered by a feces-filled sack. During one police interrogation, Tayseer was stripped and forced to sit on a Coke bottle.


    Tayseer's story is just one of the accounts by Arab lesbians and gay men in Brian Whitaker's new book, "Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East," just published simultaneously here and in the U.K. Whitaker, the Middle East bureau chief for the British daily The Guardian, writes that he was inspired to do this book when covering the infamous 2001 Queen Boat case in Egypt, in which 52 men were arrested at a gay party on a disco boat, and subjected to a highly-sensationalized trial-in a state security court normally reserved for terrorists-for using "perverted sexual acts" as part of "satanic rituals." One Cairo newspaper headline blared, "Perverts Declare War on Egypt." Thirty-five of the men received prison terms and 200 lashes each-and 70 more men who had initially been arrested, then released, were also later sentenced to prison.
    Whitaker writes that "the dearth of coverage about Arab homosexuality encourages the idea that it is almost entirely a foreign phenomenon." It is the great merit of this book that it helps to give a fuller picture of both the widespread existence of same-sex love in the Arab world and of the increasing number of Arabs who are choosing to define themselves through a gay identity.


    In dissecting the wide gap between portrayals of homosexuality in Arab media and in official discourse and the lived reality of Arab same-sexers, Whitaker writes that "Arab portrayals of homosexuality as a foreign phenomenon can be [plausibly] attributed to a reversal of old-fashioned Western orientalism. Western orientalism, as analyzed by Edward Said in his influential book, highlights the 'otherness' of oriental culture in order (Said argued) to control it more effectively. Reverse orientalism-a comparatively new development in the Arab world-taps into the same themes but also highlights the 'otherness' of the West in order to resist modernization and reform. Homosexuality is one aspect of Western 'otherness' that can be readily exploited to whip up popular sentiment... Where symbolism of this kind applies, the sexual act must necessarily be described in terms that maximize the reader's disgust: there is no scope for portrayals of homosexuality that are anything but negative."


    In this context, and given prevailing cultural and official attitudes toward homosexuality, the near-impossibility of being openly gay, and the absence of public spaces where gay men and lesbians can lawfully gather and meet, it is hardly surprising that, as Whitaker writes, "a point made repeatedly by interviewees... was that to be gay and Arab is often extremely lonely."


    So great is ignorance about the real nature of the same-sex impulse in the Arab world that the semi-official Egyptian daily al-Ahram al-Arabi could run a lengthy 2001 interview with "a professor of surgical medicine" on the "most successful method" of "curing sexual perversion"-to wit, "cauterizing the anus, which, by narrowing the anus, makes it more painful for the passive homosexual to be penetrated, which makes the active homosexual unable to penetrate, and causes the sexual encounter to fail."


    Whitaker quotes Zaki Badawi, head of the Muslim College in London, as saying that, "Homosexuality has always existed and continues to exist in all Islamic countries. Many high-ranking leaders in the Islamic world are gay." Unfortunately, Whitaker doesn't name any of those leaders, except for the Sultan of Oman. He might well have mentioned King Mohammed VI of Morocco (also the country's chief spiritual leader as Commander of the Faithful) who was outed on his ascension to the throne in 1999 by the leading Belgian daily, Le Soir, which revealed that as a university undergraduate in Brussels, the king-to-be had spent all his free time in gay bars. Then there's Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, knowledge of whose homosexual proclivities is widespread in his country, where he is frequently referred to as "ateka," a word-play nickname portraying him as a "queen." (This sobriquet, which can mean "old maid," has been chanted at Bouteflika by entire stadiums of Algerians.)


    Whitaker devotes a chapter to the rare images of homosexuality in Arab cinema-briefly touching on the work of the likes of Egyptian directors Youssef Chahine, Salah Abu Saif, and Yousri Nasrallah, and Tunisian Nouri Bouzid-and to the relatively few portrayals of it in modern Arab fiction. Novels like Lebanese Hoda Barakat's 1990 "The Stone of Laughter," Egyptian Alaa al-Aswani's huge best-seller "The Yacoubian Building" from 2002, and Nobel Prize-winner Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz's 1947 "Midaq Alley" are discussed.
    But the burgeoning fictional lesbian and gay literature written in French by Mediterranean Arab writers from former French colonies-who cannot publish in their own countries in Arabic-gets only a sentence. The talented Moroccan Rachid O, whose novels have won critical acclaim, is mentioned but not discussed; and not even mentioned at all are such interesting writers on gay themes as Algerian Aniss A., Egyptian Sonallah Ibrahim, Moroccans Kasim Nasseri and Bahaa Trebelsi, or Tunisian Eyet-Chékib Djaziri.


    It's unfortunate that, as Whitaker notes, most of his face-to-face interviews with gays and lesbians were limited to Egypt and Lebanon, and, even there, to the cosmopolitan centers of Cairo and Beirut-although there are 22 countries in the Arab League. Thus, the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia-with a combined population of more than 80 million-are hardly mentioned.




  12. #37
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    The particularly virulent menace to homosexuals posed by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism gets no systematic examination, although the phenomenon is evoked briefly and in passing in several different sections of the book. Whitaker does, however, dissect the anti-gay arguments of several English-language Islamist Web sites and the pronouncements of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential religious figure in the Arab world popularized by his regular appearances on Al-Jazeera TV. And he provides an alternative reading of the Qur'an that contradicts those who claim it condemns homosexuality, arguing that these interpretations are of relatively recent vintage.


    But the book is also marred by several errors.


    For example, Whitaker writes that the Lebanese gay group Helem "is the only specifically gay and lesbian organization functioning openly in an Arab country"-thus overlooking ASWAT, the self-described "organization of Palestinian gay women," which received an award for its work inside the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in May 2006.


    Whitaker characterizes the Iranian theocracy's attitude toward the transgendered as "comparatively liberal"-but he makes no mention of how an Iranian seeking sexual reassignment surgery must have an official document declaring themselves "mentally ill" before being allowed to proceed. Nor does he mention how Iran's mullah-controlled psychologists routinely pressure homosexuals into sex-change operations-to which some gay men and lesbians reluctantly agree in order to avoid prosecution for homosexuality, a capital crime in Iran. The French public television network France 2 last year gave a detailed account of this phenomenon in a documentary with the telling title, "Changer de Sexe ou Mourir"- "Change Sex or Die."


    And in August 2006, for an article in The Advocate, this reporter interviewed a 24-year-old Iranian lesbian refugee named Maryam, now seeking asylum in France as a sexual refugee. She related that after her lesbian affair was revealed, she was forced to undergo six months of treatment from two women psychologists at the University of Shahid Beheshti.


    "They ordered me to have it [sex-change surgery]," she said. "'No,' I said. 'I'm Maryam, a girl, and I do not want to be a man!' The female doctor told me, 'If you don't change your sexuality and you continue unlawful acts, your future will be a death sentence.'"


    Despite these caveats, "Unspeakable Love" is a valuable introduction to the difficulties and perils of being homosexual in the Arab world, and one of the few recent books in English to discuss contemporary Arab same-sex relations from a sympathetic point of view.


    One of the most useful chapters in the book is Whitaker's dissection and refutation of the arguments of Joseph Massad, a controversial Columbia University professor and author of a widely-circulated essay complaining that gay rights in Arab and Muslim countries represent an imperialist "missionary" project orchestrated by what he calls the "Gay International."


    In concluding his rebuttal of Massad, Whitaker writes that the Columbia academic and his acolytes present the debate "as a choice between cultural authenticity on the one hand and the adoption of all things Western on the other. In fact, neither is a realistic proposition. Exposure to foreign ideas and influences cannot be prevented, but nor are Arabs incapable of making critical judgments about them. Equally, Arab culture cannot be treated as a fossil; it is a culture in which real people lead real lives and it must be allowed to evolve to meet their needs. The issue, then, is not whether concepts such as 'gay' and 'sexual orientation' are foreign imports, but whether they serve a useful purpose. For Arabs who grow up disturbed by an inexplicable attraction towards members of their own sex, they can provide a framework for understanding. For families-puzzled, troubled, and uninformed by their own society-they offer a sensible alternative to regarding sons and daughters as sinful or mad."


    To which one can only say, Amen!




  13. #38
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    همجنس باز مشهور ایتالیایی به عنوان سفیر راهی ترکیه شد
    انجمن اندیشمندان ایران، نماينده همجنس باز حزب نو بنياد كمونيست در مجلس نمايندگان ايتاليا اعلام كرد‏:‏ براي دفاع از همجنس بازان در كشورهاي عربي مي خواهم سفير ايتاليا در اين كشورها شوم‏.‏



    روزنامه ايتاليايي كوريره دلاسرا در این زمینه نوشت ‏:‏ نخستين نماينده همجنس باز ايتاليا مي خواهد سفير اين كشور در كشورهاي اسلامي شود تا از حقوق همجنس بازان اين كشورها كه محكوم شده و حتي كشته مي شوند ، دفاع كند‏.‏
    لوكسوريا گفت‏:‏ مي خواهم ابتدا به تركيه بروم و سفير ايتاليا در اين كشور شوم، زيرا تركيه وارد اروپا خواهد شد و دراروپا برخي تبعيض ها را نمي توان پذيرفت‏.‏

    وي افزود‏:‏ درباره حقوق بشر و يا حكم مرگ خيلي صحبت مي شود، ولي بايد گفت كه زندگي و آزادي همجنس بازان نيز مربوط به حقوق بشر مي شود‏.‏

    درفهرست ‏80‏ كشوري كه همجنس بازي را ممنوع كرده اند نام تركيه ديده نمي شود اما همجنس بازان دراين كشور با نگاه خوب ديده نمي شوند، ولي به هرحال قانون خاصي وجود ندارد‏.‏

    وي افزود‏:‏ بايد مرحله به مرحله اقدام كرد ، نمي توانيم بلافاصله به تهران برويم ، ولي شايد روزي به آنجا نيز خواهيم رسيد‏.‏
    وي همچنين در مصاحبه باروزنامه اسراييلي هارتض گفت‏:‏ مي خواهم تبديل به نوعي سفير ايتاليا در جهان اسلام تبديل شوم‏.‏ مي خواهم ببينم كه وقتي درخواست ملاقات با يك وزير فرهنگ كشور اسلامي را خواهم كرد چه خواهد شد؟ آيا قبول خواهد كرد يا خير؟

    وي گفت‏:‏ در كشورهاي اسلامي همجنس بازي ممنوع است اما عملا بسيارگسترده است زيرا در مدارس ، محل كار و حتي در مساجد مردها با مردها و زن ها با زن ها هستند و فرصت دراين كشورها حتي از ما نيز بيشتر است‏.‏
    مهم اين است كه همجنس بازان اين كشورها حداقل آزادي و امنيت را داشته باشند ، سپس خود آنها بايد تصميم بگيرند كه چطور مبارزه كنند‏.‏





  14. #39
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    A group fighting for the rights of homosexuals in Iran is holding a human rights conference in Toronto this month to draw attention to the country's nasty track record and to promote change there.

    "Iranian law defines homo-sexuality as a crime punishable by death, denies women's equal rights with men, persecutes political dissidents and civil and human rights activists," states the press release from host group Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO).

    Arsham Parsi, secretary-general of the group, says gay men and lesbians are not usually included when activists and politicians talk about human rights violations in Iran, an exclusion that led to the organization of the Sat, Jan 27 conference at the University Of Toronto.

    "Never are they talking about LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans] rights," says Parsi. "Right now, a queer organization is organizing a human rights symposium. We're showing that LGBT rights are human rights."

    The keynote speaker will be Liberal MP Hedy Fry, speaking on the Charter Of Rights And Freedoms and its application to minorities. Other speakers include Barbara Hall, chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, representatives from Human Rights Watch and the International Gay And Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and El-Farouk Khaki of the queer Muslim organization Salaam Canada.

    Parsi, 25, fled Iran in March 2005 after he learned that he was being hunted by the government for his work with what was then called the Persian Gay And Lesbian Organization. He had begun working for the organization when he was 22, after coming out in his teens. He was granted refugee status in Canada in May of this year.

    Parsi says that when he first began realizing he was gay, he thought there was something wrong with him.

    "When I was young, I couldn't tell my parents. I thought if I have these desires, I have problems with myself."

    Parsi says he was saved when he began to find sites on the Internet about homosexuality. He says the Internet is still the primary way IRQO communicates with its 50,000 members, especially with those in Iran. He says members can access the group's website and receive electronic copies of its magazine.

    Parsi says there is a long history of homosexuality in classical Iranian and Persian literature, but that for years there has been a reluctance to talk about it openly. He says that, contrary to most people's assumptions, the situation predates Iran's current religious regime which has been in place since the 1979 revolution.

    Parsi says the last Shah, usually considered to be liberal, was responsible for tightening up laws that had allowed gay and lesbian couples to live openly together in essentially common-law marriages.

    "The Shah added something to Iranian law about two people who wanted to live together. He added that it had to be between a man and a woman."

    Parsi says it's not the intention of the IRQO to overthrow the religious authorities which now govern Iran.

    "Right now, we aren't thinking of the regime. We have to work with LGBTs first, we have to work with society first. Imagine tomorrow if the religious government was replaced by the most democratic government in the world. We would still have problems. What about mothers and fathers? If the government says you have to kill homosexuals, the people support them, for the safety of children. They think LGBTs are rapists. They don't have any information.

    "People don't like talking about our sexuality. We're not trying to promote homosexuality, just introduce it."

    Parsi says these attitudes held by many in Iran help to fuel the country's high number of gender reassignment surgeries, as does the peculiar fact that gender reassignment surgery is legal in Iran.

    "Homosexuality is illegal, but sex changes are legal. Many men are changing their sex. The one way you can sleep with men is to change your sex."

    Parsi says it's also necessary to inform other countries about the realities of the situation in Iran. He points to a case involving a refugee claimant in Britain, a gay man who asked for refugee status after his boyfriend was executed in Iran in December of 2005.

    "The British government didn't accept the boyfriend's refugee application. They said you have to prove the execution."

    But Parsi says the Iranian government and authorities have learned to disguise their persecution of homosexuals. He says that because of international condemnation they now list other causes for arrests and executions, such as alcohol use or child abuse. He points to a 2003 case where police arrested 75 men.

    "They didn't write in the report that they're gay. They wrote that they were drinking alcohol. And one of my gay friends was arrested recently in a coffeeshop, for meeting with two girls."

    Perhaps the best-known case involving executions that may have been related to gay activity is similarly difficult to prove.

    The case involves the 2005 executions of two young men in the city of Mashad. Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari, believed to have been 18 and 17 respectively at the time of their deaths, were hanged. Initial reports claimed that they'd been put to death for their homosexuality, but later reports indicated the two young men had been convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old. Parsi says it's impossible to know what really happened, as the proceedings were closed and no documents were made available.

    But Parsi says that, despite the possibility of being executed, there are things happening on the ground in Iran.

    "The people in Iran right now, they think the numbers of LGBTs are increasing. We have some members who are 70 years old. We're working more and we're seeing more."

    Parsi says he also received some good news recently from a friend in Vancouver who had been planning to undergo gender reassignment surgery so he could sleep with men. Parsi says the man, after being in Canada, has come to accept his homosexuality.

    Parsi says the daylong symposium is free to anyone who wants to attend. But he adds that the Iranian Queer Organization is solely dependent on donations to function.




  15. #40
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    Muslims join gay opt-out fight

    TONY Blair was under fresh pressure last night after a Muslim leader voiced his objections to gay adoption laws.

    The head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, said the new laws were “absurd and inconsistent with domestic and international legal precedents”.

    He added: “As Muslims we are obliged to uphold the moral standards and codes of conduct dictated by our faith.”

    The call by a Muslim figurehead comes after Catholics urged the PM to let them opt out of laws allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children through their agencies.

    The Anglican Church supported the Catholics.

    Mr Blair had backed the opt-out clause, which was supported by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, a devout Catholic.

    But he changed his mind after senior ministers insisted gays must have equal rights. Last night Ms Kelly, a member of the Opus Dei sect, was the only Cabinet member backing Catholic calls.




  16. #41
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    Gay Iranian refugee can stay in NZ

    A gay refugee who admitted repeatedly misleading immigration officials has been allowed to stay in New Zealand because he faced execution as a homosexual if sent back to Iran.

    Ahmad Tahooni, 39, from Tehran, arrived in New Zealand in 2000. He claimed to have fled Iran out of fear of political persecution for his involvement in student demonstrations - a story he later admitted was false.

    He was denied asylum and an appeal was dismissed in 2003 when his account was deemed "implausible in the extreme". He lodged a second appeal on the grounds he was gay.

    Too embarrassed to disclose his homosexuality at the time of his first application in 2000, Mr Tahooni had "evolved into a confident - even flamboyant - man" able to express his sexual orientation without inhibition, the Refugee Status Appeals Authority said.

    Mr Tahooni told The Dominion Post he lied because, coming from a "closed country", he felt unable to acknowledge his true sexuality.

    "When I arrived here I gradually learnt not to live life in a closet any more. I was inspired by the freedom here," he said.

    Though his second appeal also contained false evidence, the authority agreed Mr Tahooni was genuinely gay and could face death or imprisonment if he was returned to Iran.

    An active member of the Auckland gay scene, he frequented gay clubs and parties, plucked his eyebrows, and changed his hair colour "like the four seasons".

    "He is unable, and not required, to act discreetly in order to avoid being identified as a homosexual. His current lifestyle is in stark contrast to the atmosphere of intimidation created in Iran, including through public executions of gays," the authority said.

    The former garment trader and investor told the authority if he returned to Iran, his conservative and deeply religious father would hand him over to authorities.

    He described a history of clandestine same-sex relationships, dating back to his second year at high school in Iran. He had been arrested twice - once while watching a pornographic video at a boyfriend's apartment and again just weeks later in a public park known as a homosexual haunt.

    The first time he was freed only after the intercession of his influential brother-in-law and the second time after bribing officials.

    He also described being videotaped parodying the sexuality of two prominent Iranians, saying the discovery of the tape had increased the danger to him - but later admitted fabricating that incident out of fear his homosexuality alone would not be sufficient for refugee status.

    In a December decision, the authority said notwithstanding the false evidence presented by the refugee on several occasions, his family in Iran "abhorred" his sexuality, and there was "a real chance" he would be persecuted if he returned.

    Neil Denney, of the Auckland Gay and Lesbian Welfare Group, said many prospective refugees initially felt they had to hide their homosexuality to avoid a backlash from their ethnic community here.

    A spokesperson for the Iranian community in Auckland, Mouzhgan Shabani, said the Iranian Government would have learned of Mr Tahooni's refugee application and his homosexuality, and if he was sent back "100 per cent he would die".

    But NZ First associate immigration spokesman Peter Brown said accepting homosexuality as grounds for refugee status showed New Zealand was a "soft touch".

    "Some of those countries in the Middle East treat their own citizens, never mind whether they're homosexual, in a dreadful sort of manner. We can't just open our doors and let all and sundry come in here."




  17. #42
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    عشق را چه*گونه می*توان تعریف یا توصیف کرد؟ اگر از گونه*گونی واژه*هایی که دوست داشتن را می*رساند در گذریم، آنچه زمان و مکان را در نوردیده، وجود پیوسته*ی این مفهوم در فرهنگ و جغرافیاها و دوره*های تاریخی مختلف است.
    در این مقال، اشکال بروز دلبستگی یا تنوع آن در نظر ما نیست؛ از دغدغه*ی میهن داشتن تا وابستگی به متعلقات مادی مثل یک ملک. تمرکز بحث ما اکنون حتی مهر بین دو فرد انسان نیز نیست؛ محبتی که یک زن به جنین درون رحمش می*پرورد، و سپس در جایگاه مادر، تا خود زنده است این عاطفه را در سینه نگه می دارد، یا علاقه*ی بین اعضای یک خانواده یا خویشان یا دوستان یا استاد و شاگرد و غیره.
    در این مجال، تنها روی صحبت ما عشق زمینی دو شخصی است که معمولا رابطه*ی جنسی را هم به همراه دارد. اما این رابطه الزاما بین دو جنس مخالف شکل نمی*گیرد؛ یک فرد می*تواند به هر دو جنس توجه داشته باشد، یا با هم جنس خود رابطه*ی عشقی-جنسی برقرار کند.
    در این*باره با یک لزبین، یک جنس زن که به زن دیگر تمایل نشان می*دهد، صحبت می*کنم. و چون هفته*ی عشق رادیو زمانه است، نخست از او می*خواهم مفهوم عشق را بین هم*جنس*گراها برایمان توضیح دهد.

    http://www.radiozamaneh.org/special/.../post_141.html




  18. #43
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    Even before meeting for the first time Friday, the new Dutch Cabinet signaled that this administration would be different from the last.

    The proposed total ban on the Islamic head-to-toe burqa likely will be softened or scrapped. Rules requiring tough citizenship tests for new immigrants may be reviewed. No-smoking regulations in bars and restaurants may come into force earlier.

    Jan Peter Balkenende remains prime minister in the Cabinet installed Thursday, but his new coalition partners have made it clear they want to re-examine the hard-line policies on immigration and integration imposed by the previous, more conservative government.

    Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar told Dutch television she would take a more relaxed approach than her predecessor, Rita Verdonk, on the proposed ban against the all-encompassing burqa.

    She said she would only consider a burqa ban in specific cases, such as in "a trade where direct contact between people is very important."

    Vogelaar made light of citizenship tests that all immigrants are supposed to take. If native-born Dutch were forced to take the exam, "I know for sure that about half would fail," she said.

    The new 16-member Cabinet agreed on an amnesty for tens of thousands of rejected asylum seekers who have been in the country for more than five years.

    A more sympathetic approach to immigrants is reflected in the Cabinet's composition: Among its 11 deputy ministers is one born in Morocco and another in Turkey — the first time Muslims have reached such a high office in the Netherlands.

    The coalition has agreed it won't try to push further or roll back progressive Dutch policies on marijuana use, legalized prostitution and euthanasia.

    But in a nod to the cabinet's conservatives, civil servants will be entitled to opt out of officiating over gay wedding ceremonies.

    Interior Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst said the ruling works best both for the civil servant and the couple. She said if she were gay and getting married, "I wouldn't want some sour-faced bureaucrat standing in front of me the whole time."

    Citizens also may feel the benefits of the improving economy, which grew 2.9 percent in 2006, the highest rate since 2000. After years of cutting welfare benefits, the government plans to increase spending on childcare and reduce corporate taxes.




  19. #44
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    اولین فیلم مستند درباره همجنسگرایان ایران در روزهای گذشته از تلویزیون سراسری کانادا (سی.بی.سی) پخش شد. "آشکار در ایران" فیلم کوتاهی است به کارگردانی فرید حائری نژاد، از کارگردان های ایرانی سی.بی.سی، که در آن ضمن نگاهی به مشکلات فرهنگی و قانونی جامعه ایران برای زندگی همجنسگرایان و دگرباشان، زندگی این گروه را از زبان خود آنها به تصویر کشیده است. این که مصاحبه شوندگان در این فیلم اکثرا با هویت نامعلوم و صورت های نصفه، نیمه یا با چهره های پشت عینک دودی جلوی دوربین ظاهر شدند، از نکات خاص آن محسوب می شود. در اين فيلم يک روحانی ايرانی نيز درباره اين موضوع اظهار نظر می کند. این که چرا و چطور کارگردان به تولید این فیلم دست زده و در این مسیر با چه موانع و چالش هایی مواجه بوده ، نکاتی است که با فرید حائری نژاد به گفت و شنود گذاشتیم. فرید بعد از 23 سال به ایران و تهران می رود و در طول سه هفته اقامت خود با مستندی 35 دقیقه ای باز می گردد.
    چطور به این صرافت افتادی که با همه مشکلات و سختی های کار این سوژه را انتخاب کنی؟

    این ایده چیزی نبود که یک باره به ذهنم برسد. در واقع بعد از تحقیقاتی که انجام دادم و گفت و گوهایی که کردم به مرور به این نتیجه رسیدم که باید به این موضوع پرداخته شود چون تا به الان به این شکل به آن پرداخته نشده بوده. بنابراین یک روند مطالعاتی را طی کردم و با بعضی ها حرف زدم تا به چارچوب اصلی کار برسم.

    از مشکلات کارت بگو، برای مصاحبه هایی که لازم داشتی و کسانی را که باید پیدا می کردی چه محدودیت هایی داشتی؟

    اولا تعداد کسانی که بخواهند راجع به این موضوع صحبت کند زیاد نیست، چون به هر حال این از جهتی اعتراف به چيزی است که در ايران "جرم و گناه" خوانده می شود، ولی خب بودند کسانی که می خواستند این کار را بکنند. من هم بارها ازآنها پرسیدم که آیا در این باره مطمئن هستند یا نه و آنها مسر بودند چون به گفته خودشان بالاخره بایستی از یک جایی شروع بکنند . حالا من نمی خواهم اسمش را مبارزه یا جنبش بگذارم، چون خیلی کوچک. محدود است ولی به هر حال باید از جایی شروع کنند.

    کسانی که همجنسگرا بودند و یا دو جنسی مشکلی برای مصاحبه نداشتند، یکی از آنها مثلا خواست که صورتش را کاملا نشان ندهیم و ما هم آن را نصفه نشان دادیم. در مورد آقای روحانی، می خواستیم ببینیم اگر در ایران کسی به یک امام جماعت مراجعه کند و بگوید که من چنین مشکلی دارم، او چه مشورتی می دهد؟ که ایشان هم گفتند چنین چیزی اصلا در اسلام وجود ندارد و کسی که این کار را بکند بایستی تحت درمان قرار بگیرند و اگر لازم باشد به مراجعی معرفی شوند که مجازات های قانونی در موردشان اجرا شود. این بود که ما دنبال یک فتوا و پاسخ فقهی نبودیم. می خواستیم بدانیم اگر کسی در این مورد با مشکلی مواجه شود از کجا بایستی کمک بگیرد؟

    آیا برای تولید این فیلم بهتر نبود که با بعضی از مقامات دولتی هم مصاحبه می کردی؟

    این امکان پذیر نبود. برای این که یک موضوع حساس است و جان مردم در خطر بود. خوب بود اگر می شد. من خیلی سعی کردم با پزشکان ایرانی تماس بگیرم ولی امکان پذیر نشد. با آیت الله صانعی هم همین جور.


    فريد حائری نژاد درحال ساخت فيلم - عکس از پويان طباطبايی

    چیزهایی که در فيلم بیان شد در وهله اول، انعکاس نظرات شخصی بود و در وهله بعد قوانین ایران بود که طبق آن همجنسگرایی یک جرم محسوب می شود و این چیزی نیست که احتیاج به تایید و تفسیر داشته باشد.

    چه سوال هایی را نتوانستی در این فیلم جواب بدهی، که دوست داشتی به آنها بپردازی؟

    خیلی دوست داشتم که در همین رابطه بیشتر راجع به دو جنسی ها و کسانی که تغییر جنسیت می دهند صحبت کنیم. دلم می خواست که با آیت الله صانعی صحبت کنیم. چون ایشان خیلی رک و راست حرف می زنند و مسایل را مطرح می کنند. ولی اشتباه نکنید. مساله من این نبود که بگویم مرگ بر این و مرگ بر آن. داستان، داستان یک تعدادی افراد است که معتقدند بایستی در زمینه همجنسگرایی اطلاع رسانی شود.

    یعنی مثلا در اين رابطه جزوه و سی دی تولید کنند، بین خود این افراد و به آنها اعتماد به نفس بدهند و به مردم هم آموزش بدهند که دگر بودن چیز بدی نیست، مریضی نیست و این مساله "هموفوبیا" را ازبین ببرند. هدف و مساله اینها سیاسی نبوده، یا حداقل در حال حاضر نیست. اینها نه بر علیه رژیم دارند کار می کنند و نه کاری به این مسایل دارند. ما در بیان این آمدیم و از زبان خودشان گفتیم که مسایل و مشکلاتی دارند و آن هم قوانین است و گذشته از قوانین خود جامعه و نگاه مردم به این موضوع است. می دانید که ما در قوانين جمهوری اسلامی چیزی به اسم "همجنسگرا" نداریم، اين گرايش "لواط" محسوب می شود و اصلا رسمیت ندارد.

    لواط جرم است و محکومیت دارد و اگر دیده شود ، مجازات دارد. و این مجازات در فکر و ذهن این افراد می چرخد. لذا هم قانون بر علیه این افراد است و هم فرهنگ عمومی مردم ما. اگر مثلا بگویند کسی لواط کرده و مورد تجاوز قرار گرفته، از نگاه مردم خیلی مهم نیست. موضوع دیگر این که وقتی می گویند همجنسگرا، مردم همه چیز را سکسی و جنسی می بینند، در صورتی که مسایل دیگر مثل رابطه عاطفی و انسانی را در نظر نمی گیرند.

    برای تهیه این فیلم به جز تهران، کجا رفتی. قصد داری که باز هم با این موضوع فیلم بسازی؟

    من فقط تهران رفتم و این کاملا دربرگیرنده تمام مسایل هم نیست. و قرار هم نبوده که ما تمام مسایل همجنسگراها را حل کنیم، ولی ما چون یک نسخه طولانی تری داشتیم و در آنجا مسایل را به طور مفصل تر توضیح می دهیم. که امیدوارم اگر زمان برنامه اجازه بدهد، آن را پخش کنیم. این فیلم ضد اسلام نبوده و نیست و ادیان دیگر هم همین قوانین را دارند که در نسخه دیگرمان آنها را شرح دادیم.

    سخت ترین بخش کارت کجا بود؟

    سخت ترین قسمت کار من آن بود که تا من دوربینیم را در می آوردم مقامات امنیتی تشریف می آوردند و نمی گذاشتند من فیلم بگیرم. این مساله نمی گذاشت که به راحتی فیلم بگیریم و این کلی دلهره برای من ایجاد می کرد.

    بازتاب فیلمت چطور بود؟

    ما عموما برای تماشاگر کانادایی فیلم می سازیم و برنامه ما یک میلیون تماشاچی دارد. بازتاب این فیلم خیلی خوب بود، به استثنای بعضی از دوستان ایرانی که قضیه را سیاسی می بیینند، اکثرا با دیدن این فیلم نظرشان این بود که انعکاس متفاوتی بود از جامعه ایران.

    پس جامعه ایران یک جامعه پویایی است و خودشان به مشکلات خودشان می رسند. در خود کانادا همجنسگرایی جرم بود لذا با این پروسه جرم زدایی آشنا هستند و می دانند که ربط خیلی شدیدی لزوما به مذهب ندارد. و این را به هیچ عنوان در قالب سیاسی ندیدند. در فیلم های قبلی هم من سعی کردم این خط را طی کنم که نشان بدهم جامعه ایران دینامیک خودش را دارد و بسیار پر جنب و جوش است و روشنفکران خودش را دارد و نسبت با مسایل روشن و پویا هستند.

    بعد از این همه مدت تهران را چطور دیدی؟

    خیلی همه چیز عوض شده و من وقتی به محله خودمان رفتم، ابتدا آنجا را نشناختم. خیلی آبادانی صورت گرفته و راه سازی شده، ساختمان سازی و خلاصه خیلی تغییر کرده. خیلی ماشین بود، خیلی دود و دم بود. من هر روز که از خواب پا می شدم، بوی بنزین و دود و گازوییل توی مشام من بود، و می پرسیدم که هیچ کسی این بو را حس نمی کند؟ مثل این که مردم به این مسایل عادت کرده اند.

    اگر شرایط طوری مهیا بشود که راحت بروی ایران و فیلم تهیه کنی باز این کار را می کنی؟

    من فکر می کنم اگر شرایطی بوجود بیاید که خبرنگاران بتوانند راحت تر بروند ایران و از نزدیک کار کنند، خیلی برای بازتاب دادن جامعه ایرانی در خارج مفید خواهد بود.... هر جامعه ای خوبی ها و بدی هایی دارد و جا دارد که خوبی ها، بدی ها، نقصان ها و دلربایی های ایران را انعکاس بدهیم. من امیدوارم که روزی بیاید و این شرایط مهیا شود که ما بتوایم به راحتی برویم ایران و گزارش تهیه کنیم.

    در انتخاب این اسم برای فیلمت چه منظوری را دنبال می کردی؟

    "Out in iran" در واقع به معنای "آشکار در ایران" است. آشکار به این شکل که کسانی که دگرباش و همجنسگرا هستند خیلی هاشان در همین جامعه غربی هم آشکارش نمی کنند و حالا وقتی که این ها اعلام می کنند و هویت ناآشکار خودشان را آشکار می کنند، می آیند و حرف می زنند، اين آشکار می شود.





  20. #45
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    با اینکه حضور انسان*هایی که از لحاظ جنسی گرایش به جنس موافق خود دارند، قدمتش به عمر خود انسان می*رسد، با این*حال هنوز در بسیاری از جامعه*های دنیای امروز سخن گفتن و پذیرفتن حضور این*گونه افراد یکی از تابوهای اجتماعی و فرهنگی است و طرح مسائل مربوط به آن بسیار بحث*انگیز.


    روز یکشنبه گذشته شبکه تلویزیونی سراسری کانادا(سی*بی*سی) فیلم مستندی را به نمایش گذاشت مربوط به زندگی و فعالیت همجنس*گرایان در شهر تهران که تهیه کننده این فیلم مستند فرید حائری*نژاد، از تهیه*کنندگان این شبکه تلویزیونی است. فرید حائری*نژاد تهیه کننده*ای است که چندی پیش یکی از فیلم*های مستند او درباره زندگی جوانان ایرانی برنده جایزه نقره فستیوال فیلم*های مستند در نیویورک شد.
    فیلم مستندی که این هفته در تلویزیون سراسری کانادا پخش شد در تابستان گذشته، در سفری که فرید حائری*نژاد به ایران داشت، تهیه شده و در آن ضمن گفت*وگو با چند تن از جوانان همجنس*گرای ایرانی تلاش شده محدودیت*ها و فشارهایی که این گروه در جامعه ایران با آن روبرو هستند به نمایش گذاشته شود.
    "امنیت یک فاحشه همجنس*گرا اولویت چندم ماست؟"
    نقد این فیلم مستند و مخالفت با برخی اطلاعات ارایه شده در آن در وبلاگ "خط قرمز" واکنش تهیه*کننده این فیلم که نویسنده وبلاگ "نیستان" هم هست را برانگیخت. نویسنده وبلاگ "خط قرمز" در چند مورد ایرادی که به محتوی این فیلم گرفته نوشته است: "یکی از چهار شخصیت اصلی که در فیلم مصاحبه می*شود یک هم*جنس*گرای فاحشه است. سئوال اینکه فاحشه*گری چه ارتباطی به مسئله*ی همجنس*گرایی دارد؟ اصلا چرا چنین مستندی به دنبال یک دکتر یا مهندس همجنس*گرا نمی*رود و به جایش یک فاحشه را انتخاب می*کند؟ و راستی امنیت نداشتن یک فاحشه همجنس*گرا در ایران اولویت چندم ماست؟"
    تهیه*کننده فیلم در پاسخ به این بخش از نقد فیلم*اش نوشته*است: "داستان ایشان این بود که نمی*توانست از همجنس*گرا بودن خود صحبت کند، نمی*توانست در این زمینه دوست و همراه داشته باشد. نمی*توانست برود یک کتابخانه کتابی در این*باره بگیرد(که در آن ننوشته باشند که مریض است و جنایتکار). تنها جایی که می*توانست برود پارک دانشجو بود که او را به*نحوی به تن*فروشی رساند. یکی از مشکلات و معضلات برای همجنس*گراها در ایران عدم دسترسی به ادبیات مربوط به این تمایلات جنسی و فکری است. در ایران در این زمینه آگاهی رسانی نمی*شود، پس یا مریض، یا تجاوزگر و مجرم."
    " سایه مجازات اعدام بالای سر همجنس*گرای ایرانی است"
    نویسنده وبلاگ "خط قرمز" در بخش دیگری از نقد خود می*نویسد: "در فیلم به دفعات صحنه*ی اعدام دو جوان مشهدی نشان داده می*شود. ادعای حکومت ایران این بود که این دو به دلیل تجاوز به کودکان اعدام شده*اند. هیچ اشاره*ای در فیلم به این موضوع نمی*شود و بلکه سعی می*شود این*گونه به بینندگان القا شود که این دو فقط به دلیل همجنس*گرایی اعدام شده*اند. چرا داستان این اتفاق بدون صداقت کافی نقل شد؟"
    تهیه*کننده فیلم و نویسنده وبلاگ "نیستان" در پاسخ به این انتقاد نوشته است: "داستان مشهد مهم است برای لااقل بخش مهمی از همجنس*گرایان ایرانی. چرا که این دو نوجوان چهارده – پانزده ساله، یعنی زیر سن، پس از دستگیری و چند سال حبس اعدام می*شوند که هنوز یکی از آنها هجده ساله هم نشده بود. یک جوان همجنس*گرا همیشه سایه شوم و ترسناک این*گونه مجازات را بالای سر خود حس می*کند. مجازات صد ضربه شلاق هم آنقدر طبیعی و نرمال شده است که هرکس روایت و داستانی دارد از آن".
    "در جمهوری اسلامی همجنس*گرایان از روزنامه*نگاران و فعالی سیاسی آزادترند"
    در ادامه نقد این فیلم مستند آمده*است: "در جمهوری اسلامی همجنس*گراها از آزادی بسیار بیشتری برخوردارند تا روزنامه*نگاران و فعالین سیاسی و حتی دگرجنس*گراها. دو تا همجنس*گرا راحت*تر می*توانند با هم خوش بگذرانند تا یک دختر و پسر. حتی در خود فیلم هم دیده می*شود که همجنس*گراها با هم پارک یا کافی*شاپ می*روند. این که شخصیت اصلی فیلم در انتها می*گوید که آرزو دارد روزی در ایران ازدواج رسمی کند و بچه به فرزند خواندگی قبول کند یک ژست سوپر روشنفکرانه در وضعیت کنونی ایران است و کلام آخر اینکه برای نشان دادن تضیع حقوق بشر در ایران راه*های زیادی هست که در عین حال کمکی هم به پروپاگاندای جنگ طلب آمریکایی نکند".
    نویسنده وبلاگ "نیستان" و تهیه*کننده فیلم در پاسخ به این انتقاد نوشته است: "کار من دفاع از حقوق بشر نیست و من یک فعال حقوق بشر نیستم و در این زمینه مبارزه نمی*کنم. شما در عقیده و نظر خود آزاد هستید و این حق شماست و قابل احترام است ولی این انتقادات شخصی را وارد ژورنالیسم و به آن تحمیل نکنید. خط قرمز برای دیگران نکشید و نسبت به این مسائل جدی باشید و نکاتی که به آن توجه ندارید اینکه تا به امروز ای*میل*های بسیاری در مورد فیلم دریافت شده است. بیشتر این ای میل ها از سوی کانادایی ها که هدف اصلی این فیلم بود فرستاده شده*است و روح کلی در برداشت این تماشاگران این بوده که در شرایط کنونی چهره نو و تازه*ای از ایران به نمایش در آمد. کانادایی*ها می*دانند که تا همین دهه هفتاد در کانادا همجنس*گرایی جرم قانونی بود و می*دانند که جرم*زدایی در این زمینه تلاشی است طبیعی در هر کشور و از جمله ایران".
    بدون شک وقتی چنین معضلات اجتماعی در جامعه ایران مطرح می*شود، بحث*های موافق و مخالف بسیاری هم در پی دارد. علاوه بر برخی انتقادها و برخی پاسخ*هایی که در مورد این فیلم مستند به آن اشاره شد، پرسش*های دیگری از تهیه کننده فیلم و نیز دبیر سازمان "دگرباشان جنسی ایرانی" در کانادا، که در این فیلم مستند با او نیز گفت*و*گو شده بود داشتیم، اما هیچ*یک حاضر نشدند به پرسش*های ما پاسخ دهند.




  21. #46
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Inside Iran's Secret Gay World

    In this startling and unique documentary, Out in Iran, we go to Iran and get the world's first look at life inside Iran's persecuted gay community. We meet an astonishing group of courageous people with heartbreaking stories.

    YouTube - Inside Iran's Secret Gay World 1 of 3




  22. #47
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    همجنس بازي در همه جوامع و فرهنگ ها وجود داشته است. فاكتور هاي بيولوژيك و اجتماعي در تعيين گرايش جنسي نقش دارند. دوقلوهاي همسان ( حتي آنها كه در خانواده هاي جداگانه بزرگ شده اند) ميزان تطابق بيشتري در گرايش جنسي نسبت به آنچه تنها از روي شانس پيش بيني مي شود نشان مي دهند, ولي اين رقم به 100% نمي رسد, در صورتي كه اگر ژنتيك به تنهائي دخيل بود اين توقع را داشتيم.
    به نقل از درسنامه طب اطفال نلسون 2006- كتاب رسمي مرجع پزشكان و دانشجويان پزشكي


    بعضي مطالعات تفاوت هائي در اندازه مناطق معيني از مغز در افراد هم جنس باز پيدا كرده اند ولي اين يافته ها هميشگي نيستند. حتي اگر اين تفاوت تاييد شود , تحقيقات بيشتر بايد معلوم كند كه تفاوت در نتيجه همجنس بازي است, يا
    خود عامل آن است. ميزان آندوژن ها و استروژن ها( هورمون هاي جنسي) در افراد همجنس باز و غير همجنس باز متفاوت نيست. اينكه قبل از تولد در معرض استروئيد قرار گرفتن بر گرايش جنسي تاثير دارد نامعلوم است. در مورد اينكه فاكتور هاي اجتماعي چگونه بر گرايش جنسي اثر مي گذارند اطلاعات بسيار كمي در دسترس است. هر چند قطعي است كه والدين با دختر و پسر رفتار متفاوتي دارند معلوم نيست چگونه اين كنش هاي متقابل بر گرايش جنسي اثر مي گذارند.

    تخمين زده مي شود كه حدود 5-1% افراد بزرگسال خود را به عنوان افراد هم جنس باز مي شناسند. با توجه به نظر نامساعد جامعه نسبت به همجنس بازي اين كودكان در معرض خطر اعتماد به نفس پائين , طرد شدن, آزار كلامي ,و حتي حمله فيزيكي قرار دارند. هر چند رفتار هاي جنسي و نه جهت گيري جنسي خطر بيماري هاي آميزشي را تعيين مي كند, مردان جوان هم جنس باز علي رغم خطر عفونت ايدز, در رفتار هاي جنسي پر خطر شركت مي كنند. بنا به دلائل پزشكي و رواني - اجتماعي , پزشك بايد محيطي فراهم كند كه نوجوان به راحتي بتواند در مورد گرايش جنسي اش صحبت كند.

    دانستن اينكه فرد هم جنس باز است و گفتن آن به والدين اغلب بسيار استرس زا است. به خصوص وقتي كه نوجوان مي داند پدر و مادر رفتار دوستانه و حمايتي نخواهند داشت. هر چند بسياري از والدين هم جنس باز بودن فرزندشان را قبول مي كنند, برخي والدين, مخصوصا آنها كه همجنس بازي را غير اخلاقي مي دانند, ممكن است فرزندشان را طرد كنند. نوجوان همجنس باز در معرض خطر بالاي بي خانماني قرار دارد. نوجوان بايد بداند كه حتي والديني كه نهايتا همجنس باز بودن فرزندشان را قبول مي كنند,در آغاز از سلامتي فرزند خود شوكه و هراسناك باشند, يا اينكه با از دست رفتن آينده اي كه براي كودك انتظار داشتند ناراحت باشند.

    گاه لازم است به پدر و مادر اطمينان داده شود كه آنها باعث همجنس بازي فرزندشان نشده اند.والدين بايد بدانند كه درمان هائي كه براي تغيير جهت گيري جنسي طراحي نشده اند نه تنها مفيد نيستند بلكه اعتماد به نفس كودك را كاهش مي دهند و باعث تشديد احساس گناه مي شوند. پزشك بايد بتواند در صورتي كه اطلاعات خودش كافي نيست گروه هاي حامي و مشاوره اي معرفي كند, كه بتواند راجع به اين مسائل با نوجوان و والدينش صحبت كنند.

    جوان همجنس باز از طريقه رفتار باهمجنس خواهي در مدرسه, گروه همسن و ساير گروه هاي جامعه تاثير مي پذيرد. گرفتن اطلاعات بي طرفانه در مورد همجنس بازي در اين شرايط ممكن نيست و جوك در مورد همجنس بازي, طعنه و تمسخر و خشونت بسيار شايع است. عجب نيست كه جوانان و بالغين همجنس باز نسبت به عموم جمعيت ميزان نگراني و اختلال خلقي بيشتري دارند. افزايش ميزان مصرف مواد و خودكشي در اين گروه گزارش شده است. پرسنل پزشكي نقش مهمي در پيدا كردن اين مشكلات دارند.

    هر چند آموزش روش هاي ايمن ارتباط جنسي در برنامه ويزيت تمام نوجوانان بايد وجود داشته باشد, پزشك بايد بداند كه برخي رفتار هاي جنسي مردان همجنس باز, خطر انواع معيني از بيماريهاي آميزشي را افزايش مي دهد. آميزش آنان راه موثري براي اكتساب عفونت هپاتيت B وCMVو HIV است. التهاب ناحيه مقعد ناشي از سوزاك , كلاميديا , تبخال تناسلي , سيفليس يا
    زگيل تناسلي ممكن است رخ دهد.





  23. #48
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    با افزایش روند خروج هم جنس گرایان و دو جنس گرایان ایرانی از کشور، آنها در کشور ترکیه با شرایط دشوار زندگی دست و پنجه نرم می کنند و ماهها برای گرفتن پناهندگی از کشورهای خارجی در نوبت می مانند .
    هم جنس گرایان ایرانی با مشکلاتی چون ورود غیر قانونی به کشور های همسایه ، بی پولی، گرسنگی و کمبود غذا و مسایل بهداشتی مواج اند و شرایط دشواری دارند.
    آرشام پارسی دبیر کل سازمان دگر باشان ایرانی در کانادا ، پس از بازگشت از سفر 20 روزه اش به ترکیه ، در گفت و گویی با ما گزارشی از آخرین وضعیت هم جنس گرایان ایرانی پناهجو در خاک ترکیه ارائه داد.
    پارسی با اشاره به شرایط سخت زندگی برای هم جنس گرایان ایرانی پناهجو گفت:متاسفانه پروسه گرفتن پذیرش و ویزا خیلی طولانی است و مشکل بی پولی و هزینه های اقامت و اجاره منزل شرایط دشواری را پیش روی پناهجویان می گذارد.وی افزود: این بچه ها مورد توهین قرار می گیرند . هم از طرف مردم ترک و هم ایرانیان آنجا . چرا که هم جنس گرایی را نمی توانند بپذیرند . دیده شده که حتی برخی از ایرانیان آنها را کتک زده اند و به شدت مورد آزار قرار داده اند .
    آرشام همچنین گفت : در حال حاضر عده زیادی از ایرانیان بویژه خانواده های بهایی و جمعیت کردها ی ایرانی در ترکیه هستند و منتظر گرفتن پناهندگی از یکی از کشورهای خارجی هستند، ولی در بین همه آنها وضعیت هم*جنس گرایان و دو جنس گرایان از همه بد تر است. چرا که آنها تنها هستند . حتی خانواده های آنها از ایران هیچ حمایتی از آنها نمی کنند.
    وی فشارهای اجتماعی بر روی این افراد را عامل مهمی در خروجشان از کشور دانست . گفت :در حال حاضر بسیاری از هم جنس گرایان پناهجوی ایرانی در ترکیه با مشکلات بهداشتی و کمیود غذا مواجه*اند.حتی حمام ندارند که بروندو بسیاری از آنها دچار بیماری های پوستی شدند .
    وی در پاسخ به سوالی در مورد آن عده از ایرانیان که با سوء استفاده از نام هم جنس گرایی سعی در گرفت پناهندگی از سازمان ملل می کنند، گفت : متاسفانه دیده می*شود که عده ای دست به این کار می*زنند. چنان چه عده*ای با این کار باعث شدند که مثلا کشور انگلیس دیگر اعتمادی به هم جنس گرایان واقعی نداشته باشدو از دادن پناهندگی به آنها خود داری کند . ما توانستیم که با همکاری سازمان ملل آنها را متقاعد کنیم که مراقب موارد تقلبی و غیر واقعی باشند. به این ترتیب که قبل از دادن پناهندگی به متقاضیان ، اطلاعات آنها را برای ما می*فرستند و ما بر اساس برخی شرایط آنها را شناسایی می*کنیم و بعد از تاییدات لازم به سازمان ملل اعلام می*کنیم.




  24. #49
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    U.K. Ignores Iranian Gay's Asylum Request

    A 35-year-old gay Iranian is on a hunger strike in a U.K. jail to protest a deportation order that will send him back to Iran. Saeed Faraji was arrested by British immigration police on April 20, and is currently being held in Oakington Detention Center in Cambridge.



    The Home Office refused his asylum request on the grounds that he could not prove that homosexuals are subjected to "torture, inhumane or degrading treatment" in Iran.



    Faraji told his story in a sworn statement to the Home Office's Immigration Appeal Authority, a copy of which was provided to Gay City News:



    Faraji is the youngest of five children from a Tehran family of practicing Muslims, and was trained at a technical school in elevator repair. "I knew that I was different from a young age," Faraji said, "and at around 14 I found myself attracted to people of the same sex. I had no attraction for women."



    "From childhood, I had a very close friend called Ali Rahaei," Faraji explained. "We were inseparable. Our relationship developed from being friends to being partners."



    After completing his military service, Faraji resumed his relationship with Ali, but, he said, "our relationship was always practiced behind closed doors away from prying eyes [because] homosexuality is not allowed at any level in Iran."



    "I spent my working time helping my father in his carpet business," Faraji said, "and Ali worked for the Ministry of Agriculture. We tried to continue to see each other as often as we could."



    Faraji said that "Ali and I were happily sharing our love for each other, albeit in secret," until one day when the couple was "in my bedroom watching an X-rated video that Ali had secretly obtained. During this time we were watching this video on the computer, Ali performed oral sex on me -- but we did not realize that my cousin had seen us. He was shocked and confused at what he had seen and left the room immediately."



    A few days later, Faraji related, it became clear his cousin had informed on him to his family. He and Ali were again having sex in his bedroom "when the door burst open, and my father, Ali's father, and three police came in. Ali and I were scared for our lives, and without even finding my shoes I got my trousers on and ran as fast as I could, jumping from the balcony window. Fearing for my life, I left Ali -- I felt terrible [doing so], but I had to get out. While I was running away I heard gun shots being fired by the police, and I ran even faster."



    Faraji made his way to the house of a friend who knew of his relationship with Ali. "He told me that I couldn't stay in his house for long -- Iran was not a safe place for me and the only option I was left with was to flee the country," Faraji said.



    His friend helped him find a "passer" who smuggled him out of the country and arranged his voyage; after a long and arduous journey, he eventually arrived in the U.K. on December 11, 1999. Faraji applied for asylum as a sexual refugee the same day, but even though Faraji has made a life for himself in the U.K. in the intervening years, it is only now that the authorities have decided to deport him.



    "Since I have been in the U.K. I have experienced freedom to express my views and feelings without fearing for my life," Faraji told immigration officials. "I cannot return to Iran, a country that treats me as a lower kind of human being. Everyone has the right to be treated with decency regardless of their sexual orientation. I also fear revenge attacks from my family," he said.



    Friends of Faraji contacted the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO), the new name adopted by the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization, or PGLO), which is supporting Faraji's asylum request.



    Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has an abysmal record on granting asylum to gay refugees, especially from Muslim countries, and the Home Office's claims that homosexuals are not persecuted in Iran for their sexual orientation are laughable. For example, the government of the Netherlands last year adopted a new asylum policy for Iranian gays, who are now considered a "special category" of persecuted people who no longer have to prove they are individually at risk in order to be granted refugee status.



    This reporter has written numerous interviews with gay Iranian victims of torture over the last two and a half years.



    As Mani, an underground gay activist inside Iran, told Gay City News last summer, "You who live serenely and comfortably on the other side of Iran's frontiers, be aware that those who think and feel and love like you do in Iran are executed for the crime of homosexuality, are assassinated, kidnapped, and barred from working in offices. You have festivals, and they prisons. You select Mr. Gay of the Year, but they don't even enjoy the right to have gravestones. Be fair and tell us what difference there is between us and you. Isn't it time that all homosexuals around the world rise up and come to our defense?" (See my interview with activist Mani, "Gay and Underground in Iran," in Gay City News, July 6, 2006.)



    Letters in support of Faraji, who faces imminent deportation back to Iran, should be faxed to the British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir David Manning, British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20008 -- Fax: (202) 588 7870. Please include Faraji's prisoner number at the Oakington Detention Centre: 20/4c.



    In another urgent case, the Secretary-General of the IRQO, 26-year-old Arsham Parsi, has appealed for emergency financial support to help smuggle an arrested gay activist and blogger out of Iran.



    "For security reasons we will call him Babak," Parsi said from his base in Toronto, where Parsi was granted asylum last year as a sexual refugee from Iran. "Babak is 27 years old, and had worked as a writer and translator for the monthly, Persian-language on-line magazine of the Iranian Queer Organization, Cheraq," Parsi said, adding, "He is also a gay blogger who actively pursued queer rights, for which he received many threats from the police. Babak had fled Iran through the mountains to Turkey, but he was stopped by the Turkish police and arrested for lack of documents."



    Babak was sent back to Iran before he could claim refugee status at the Turkish office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Parsi said that after his deportation back to Iran, Babak "was taken to jail, badly beaten and tortured, and released only after a friend paid $1500 bail to get him out." But, Parsi said, Babak faces trial soon on charges stemming from his gay activism, and says "it is very important that he is smuggled out of Iran as soon as possible before he is summoned to court."



    "We are a global gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender family," Parsi said, "and we need to help out members of this family who are in desperate need -- particularly individual activists like Babak who have been persecuted for the way they love and for the crime of defending the rights of our brothers and sisters."



    Parsi appealed for emergency donations to pay a "passer" to smuggle Babak out of Iran before he is again jailed and tortured.




  25. #50
    hahahhaa u ppl write 2 much takes pure years 2 read man write less fings it wud be easier 2 read lol fnx

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