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Thread: News Dedicated to Muslims lesbian,gay,bisexual

  1. #76
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    Gay Intergroup Urges Iran to Release 30 men Arrested in Esfahan

    The European Parliament’s all-party ‘Intergroup’ for lesbian and gay human rights is calling on Iranian authorities to release the 30 men presumed to still be in custody following a raid on a party.
    Respect for the human rights of the men—and all Iranians—must be respected by not intruding into their private lives, the Intergroup says in a statement.

    The men were arrested while attending a private party in an Iranian city of Esfahan and have been accused of consensual homosexual conduct and drinking alcohol.

    They are thought to have been in jail for more than a month, without access to lawyers and without receiving formal any criminal charges.

    “For quite some time the Intergroup has been receiving alarming reports from Iran on arbitrary arrests, torture and execution of homosexuals,” said Michael Cashman, MEP, president of the Intergroup.

    “This is inhuman behaviour by Iranian authorities and also breaches Universal Human Rights standards.

    “Iranian authorities must respect basic human rights of every Iranian citizen. Sexual orientation can not be a reason to deny people their rights. These men in Esfahan should be released immediately,” he emphasized.




  2. #77
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    Arsham Parsi is the head of the IRQO ( Iranian Queer Organization ) . Parsi was born in 1980. As he tells it, he grew up in Shiraz with no contact with other gay people until he found queer communities on the Internet. Following that, he worked on HIV issues, until rumors of his sexual orientation began to spread and he feared persecution. According to Human Rights Watch, “Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty.” Reports indicate that women and lesbians also endure lack of access to equal rights and persecution. Parsi fled to Turkey and then to Canada, where he applied for asylum. Today, according to Parsi, IRQO works for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Iran, and to increase awareness about queer issues among Iranians.
    Parsi spoke with Windy City Times in a phone interview.

    Windy City Times: You're here for the International Day against Homophobia, which began in 2005 and which was also connected for a while to the hangings of two men, Ayaz and Mahmoud, in Iran that same year. I'm curious about your thoughts on that incident. In a 2006 interview, you disputed the characterization of them as gay. Have you changed your mind?

    Arsham Parsi: This case is very complicated. As a human-rights organization, we have to be responsible about our mission. We didn't know those people and we don't have access to their case files through the Iranian Ministry of Justice. So how do we know under which circumstances they were arrested by the government, and what happened to them in prison? Maybe they said they are gay. You know, we have no idea. I know many guys in Iran who have same-sex relationships but are not homosexual. You can't say they're homosexual or gay. So the truth is we don't know if they were gay or not. It's not Black or white.

    We had a hard time with the international journalists [ and activists who insisted they were gay ] . The Western media sometimes doesn't know what's going on. In May 2007, 80 men were arrested in Ishafan—and most media insisted they were gay men. And we had a hard time, because that gave the courts evidence about their sexuality. So the western media helped the judge prove their homosexuality. The Western media doesn't know what's going on.

    The most important thing is: In Iran, people are executed on account of their sexuality and sexual behavior and sexual acts. In Iran, having sex between men and [ women ] is illegal before marriage.


    Read more story below....

    We have many cases we can stand by, where people were executed on the basis of their sexuality, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you read the Islamic Code, it's difficult to know whether they're punished for rape, pedophilia or homosexuality. You can't find out what they're talking about.

    WCT: What do you think about the threat of war on Iran?

    AP: I believe that war is not about democracy and human rights. If the United States attacks Iran, it won't be about democracy. I'm anti-war.

    WCT: A lot of your work rests on the idea that there's a universal gay identity. Your own story about coming out via the Internet seems very Western-influenced and about class access. As you know, many feminist and queer scholars have been critical of the idea of a universal gay identity, Joseph Massad's book Desiring Arabs being the most recent among them. How do you respond to that?

    AP: About sexual identity: Many Iranians say we don't have to have a label. But sometimes that story is just on paper—it's not real in society. Many say we don't need the Western lifestyle of gay men. But we use “gay” and “lesbian,” the English words. There's a professor of sexuality who recently said that homosexuals in Iran are okay as long as they identify as gay in the Western context. But we don't accept that. In Iran, people are arrested because of their sexual orientation.

    WCT: I don't think most people would argue that there's no persecution of gay people, but they do have questions about what it means for an Iranian queer to have to declare a particular kind of identity in order to get help. On Iranian.com, Choob Doshar-Gohi writes about her interview with an American asylum officer: “He engages me in a patronizing conversation about veiling and the oppression of women in Iran. I cannot argue, or I will lose the asylum case.” How do you feel about what people have to go through to gain asylum and what that might say about adopting Western ideas about gay identity?

    AP: I didn't have a problem. But in the U.S., they have more problems than in Turkey. In Turkey, all the questions were around the facts of my case, not whether or not I was gay; I didn't have to prove I was gay. When I told them I'm gay, they said fine. But I know from friends in the U.S. and Canada that they've been told by officials, “You don't look like gay people.” In Western societies they [ asylees ] have more challenges than in other countries.

    WCT: In a 2006 speech to Egale Canada ( Canada's national gay-rights group ) you said, “These lonely shivering hands are the representatives of all of the Iranian LGBTs' hands. Take my hands as their representatives and support us. Do not norget Iranian LGBTs, do not leave us alone.” Some might argue that such language reduces Iranian queers to pathetic creatures pleading for help, rather than political agents.

    AP: We don't use that literature any more. That was part of the early activism when we first started in Canada, but we no longer use such language.

    WCT: We don't hear much about lesbians in IRQO.

    AP: Lesbians, unfortunately, are more invisible than gays; they have more problems. They prefer to hide their sexual orientation because, in Iranian society, they have two negative points against them: being women and being lesbian. I know many feminist activists who are fighting for women's rights, but who don't accept lesbians. I know a couple of lesbians who are active in the feminist movement; they decided to work for the women's movement first, and after that the lesbian-rights movement. They're not out because, as they told me, “Right now, our priority is women's rights, and when we have equality, we can come out as lesbians.” We do have some lesbians working and blogging in Iran, and others outside of Iran who are active with our organization.

    WCT: What about feminist support for your group? You've spoken about Shirin Ebadi [ a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iranian lawyer and human-rights activist ] .

    AP: We talked to Shirin Ebadi through one of our members in London and she told us, “I accept your rights, but I couldn't support you in public.” At first, I thought she was being homophobic. But now I believe that because Shirin Ebadi [ and others ] are fighting for women's rights, their support of gays or lesbians [ will mean that ] those people will be in danger. Because the Ministry of Justice and the Iranian government will deny them all rights: “No” for women, “No” for lesbians.

    WCT: One of your main issues is to increase Iranian awareness about homosexuality. But you're associated with people like Peter Tatchell, with whom you've appeared on an interview, [ and who has ] been accused of making Islamaphobic comments. How might that affect your work with Muslim Iranians?

    AP: I've done many interviews, and sitting at the same table doesn't mean we accept each other's agendas. One of our issues is with the level of information about homosexuality in Iran, and the other is Islamaphobia. Islamaphobia and homophobia are both hate-based. We have many problems with some activists who campaign or speak about LGBTQ Iranians —they sometimes make problems for us because they don't know exactly what's happening in Iran. They have their agenda, they have their political issues, and sometimes they create problems for us, as happened in May 2007.

    WCT: How do you feel about being the representative of all Iranian queers as the head of IRQO?

    AP: I should clarify: I'm not an elected official. It's my personal responsibility, and I became an activist because of the situation [ for queers in Iran ] . Some people refer to me as “Arsham Parsi, leader of Iranian LGBTs” but I don't like that title. I don't identify myself as a leader, but as an activist. Right now, we're talking about and for those who identify as LGBT, because we're dealing with this community [ that doesn't get spoken about ] . I try to address all their concerns.

    WCT: We know about your history as a queer Iranian, but not much else of your political history. What would you like to see in Iran?

    AP: I don't identify myself as a political activist. I hope that we have a democratic government, that the people can decide about their rights and their laws. We don't have safe elections. When we have a democratic party, I believe everything will be okay.

    WCT: But does that mean that you don't see queer activism as political activism?

    AP: Human-rights activism is part of political activism. So I prefer to identify myself as a human-rights activist, not as a political activist. I know some parties are active, but their work is not about human rights—it's about power.

    Arsham Parsi will be the featured speaker in Chicago May 17 for the International Day Against Homophobia ( I.D.A.H.O. ) . The event will begin with a brief speak-out at 3 p.m. in the small plaza just south of Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark, followed by a march through the community to Gerber/Hart Library, 1127 W. Granville, where a reception for Parsi will be held. See www.gayliberation.net for more.




  3. #78
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    Malihe Kigasari

    Same-sex marriage

    Malihe Kigasari (right) and and her partner Elizabeth Kristen, browse through a flower display while shopping for wedding bouquets at the San Francisco Flower Mart. The Oakland couple tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on June 17, the first day same sex marriages became legal in California. San Francisco Chronicle: "Standing amid a sea of brilliantly colored blooms at the San Francisco Flower Mart on a recent morning, Mali Kigasari, 49, and Elizabeth Kristen, 41, realized they needed a bridal style - and fast. Were they big, pink peony types or were yellow calla lilies more their speed? Or maybe something unexpected like a branch from a lemon tree?"

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...6SKC.DTL&tsp=1




  4. #79
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    BOOK REVIEW Gay Travels in the Muslim World

    Michale Luongo's anthology of gay travel writing attempts to go beyond the recognizable Western symbols and tropes of “gayness”: rainbow flags, Pride parades and stories about coming out. A number of the authors point out that it's the West that fuses gay identity and gay sex; men in many Muslim cultures are unafraid of holding hands in public without being particularly gay. Luongo writes, after trying to discern between gay romance and everyday gestures in Kabul, “I wonder if I was seeing a society that simply took any form of love, including affection between men, as a wonderful thing.”

    Authors honestly foreground the entanglement of race and desire, the exoticizing that comes with that and what happens when the very presence of ( mostly ) white gay men in tourist traps also makes them part of the commercial structure. Encounters aren't always peaceful. In Martin Foreman's “A Market and a Mosque,” the author writes about Sylhet, Bangladesh—a small city that appears, on the surface, to be reaping the benefits of global migration. The influx of money from immigrants sending money back to Sylhet has resulted in a new boom economy of sorts, especially for young men who trade sex for money. Foreman thinks he has a special connection to the place: “ … since most of the Bangladeshis in the UK [ Foreman's native country ] live in my home borough of Tower Hamlets, I feel a kind of affinity with the place. Whether or not Sylhet feels an affinity with me is a different matter.”



    http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/g....php?AID=18825




  5. #80
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    Gay Iranian granted refugee status by UN

    A gay Iranian asylum seeker has been granted refugee status by the UN after eighteen months of campaigning.

    Kamal and Reza fled Iran for Turkey so they could start a life together without the fear of being punished for their sexuality.

    Kamal has been told he will be recognised as a refugee while Reza is hopeful he will receive notification soon.

    Human rights groups claim up to 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the 1979 revolution in Iran.

    These are usually under the guise of honour killings, says a 2006 report released by LGBT activists OutRage!

    In a speech given to Columbia University in New York in September 2007, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

    Kamal and Reza fled Iran and arrived in Turkey in December 2006.

    As Turkey does not recognise non-European refugees, anyone seeking asylum must register for refugee status within five days of arriving in the country.

    It has taken until now for Kamal to be recognised as a refugee.

    A diabetes sufferer, Kamal had been suffering from fits due to lack of medication.

    This has caused his partner, Reza, so much worry he has developed depression. Both of them have been living in unsanitary conditions with very little income.

    Reza is still waiting to hear back from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) but is optimistic he will receive news of his refugee status in a couple of days.

    The Iranian Refugee Queer Organisation, who have backed Kamal and Reza's campaign, called the news of Kamal's refugee status "a testament to what the international community can achieve."

    After details of Reza and Kamal's case were reported by the international news media, the UNCHR received a plethora of emails urging them to act on behalf of these two asylum seekers.

    Turkey has a long history of offering safety for refugees. Between 1923 to 1997 1.6 million people fled to Turkey, displaced by WW2, the Cold War and the Gulf conflicts.

    Millions have fled Iran since the 1979 revolution and many either have settled in Turkey or claimed refugee status and emigrated to another country.

    Amnesty International has reported cases of non-European asylum seekers registering for refugee status and then being forcefully deported by Turkish authorities.

    There have been cases where refugees have been handed directly to the authorities of the country they were fleeing.




  6. #81
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    Concern for gay Iranian refused asylum in Cyprus

    The Commissioner of Administration in Cyprus has warned that a gay Iranian man faces death in his homeland if he is deported.

    Eliana Nicolaou accused the government of putting the man's life at risk after he was twice rejected for asylum status.

    In Iran the penalties for homosexual acts are flogging, stoning or hanging.

    The man, currently in prison for cannabis use, is in a four year relationship with a Cypriot man, who said in a letter to Nicolaou that he would take extreme action if his boyfriend was deported.

    "Homosexuality is completely forbidden in Iran, " a source within the Iranian Embassy in Cyprus told the Cyprus Mail.

    The Iranian man did not mention he was gay when he first applied for asylum as he was scared to say it in front of a third person, believed to be an Iranian interpreter, at the interview. He was still rejected after he revealed his sexuality in a second application.

    Ombudswoman Nicolaou said the Asylum Service failed to explain clearly and in a convincing manner why it had rejected his asylum application.

    She pointed out that no reference had been made to the risk of persecution on account of his homosexuality if he was returned to Iran.

    "Where homosexuality is illegal in a particular society, the imposition of severe criminal penalties for homosexual conduct could amount to persecution," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Emilia Strovolidou told the Cyprus Mail.

    "From the moment there is such a strict law, you can’t predict how it will be applied and whether it will be applied.

    "However, the likelihood is always there, and the severe penalties exist, regardless of specific cases."

    There have been several stories this year regarding the deportation of homosexual Iranians.

    Mehdi Kazemi was allowed back to the UK after claiming he faces execution for his sexuality.




  7. #82
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    اظهارات خواندني چهار جوان محكوم به اعدام به اتهام لواط

    مي توان به راحتي و در مدت كوتاهي شخصي را نابود كرد. چطور؟ بخوانيد...



    در پست قبلي اعلام كردم كه در بسياري از پرونده هايي كه موكلينم به اعدام محكوم شده بودند ايرادات و اشكالاتي در پرونده هايشان وجود داشته و دارد كه اجراي حكم را با مشكل جدي مواجه مي كند و همچنين ايرادي به حكم اعدام يعقوب ميرنهاد گرفتم حال براي اثباتآنچه گفته ام تنها به يك نمونه اشاره مي نمايم البته صرفا اظهارت موكلانم را كه در مقابل حكم صادره بسيار جالب توجه است را در ذيل آورده ام كه با پرونده كاملا مطابقت دارد:

    قضات شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي چهار نفر به نامهاي حميد طاقي، ابراهيم حميدي، مهدي پوران و محمد رضايي را به اتهام لواط به استناد علم قاضي در خرداد ماه سال هشتاد و هفت به اعدام محكوم نمودند و در حال حاضر آنها در زندان تبريز مي باشند در ملاقاتي كه روز شنبه مورخ 12/5/1387 در زندان مركزي تبريز با موكلينم داشته و وكالت آنها را پذيرفتم حميد.طاقي در رابطه با چگونكي تشكيل پرونده و نحوه صدور راي، اظهار داشته است كه:

    من و ابراهيم با هم در كوچه گفتگومي كرديم كه تصميم گرفتيم براي گردش به صحرا برويم به سمت سد برازين تبريز كه جاهاي خوبي براي گردشگران مي باشد رفتيم در بين راه از كنار زمين كشاورزي پدر ابراهيم رد مي شديم كه ديديم چهار نفر در زمين كشاورزي مشغول تخريب زمين هستند ما به آنجا رفتيم در اين حين مهدي و محمد هم پيش ما آمدند ابراهيم به آن چهار نفر گفت چرا زمين را خراب مي كنيد حجت يكي از آنها به ابراهيم گفت مگر اينجا مال شماست ابراهيم گفت پس مال پدرت هست كه خراب مي كني ابراهيم به او يك سيلي زد و من نگذاشتم كه ديگر او را بزند دعوا پس از زد و خرد و مشاجراتي تمام شد پس از اينكه گردش كرديم با موتور به خانه رفتيم كه بعد از دو ساعت كه گذشت پليس همراه ابراهيم و حجت مرا در خانه دستگير و به كلانتري بردند وقتي رفتيم به كلانتري آنجا يكي از مامورين كلانتري ما را زير شكنجه قرار داد به ما گفت اگر واقعآ عمل لواط انجام داده ايد بايد به من راستش را بگوييد ما هم چون هيچ گونه عمل لواطي انجام نداده بوديم اعتراف نكرديم ما حدود سه روز در بازداشتگاه هريس مانديم و در آن سه روز ما حتي يك ساعت هم آرامش نداشتيم كه روز سوم مآمور كلانتري به سراغ ما آمد او گفت اگر يك نفر از شما اين كار را گردن بگيرد يك نفر شما به زندان خواهد رفت و بقيه شما آزاد مي شويد و به عنوان شاهد كه بگويد ابراهيم آن كار را انجام داده به دادگاه برويد به ما گفت مي روم و بعد از نيم ساعت ديگر برمي گردم خوب فكر كنيد و به من بگوييد. او آمد و به ابراهيم گفت كه بيا خودت بنويس كه من اين را انجام داده ام ابراهيم هم گفت من كاري نكردم كه اعتراف بكنم او باز هم ابراهيم را زير شكنجه قرار داد پاهاي ابراهيم را به طرف بالا كشيد و همراه 4 نفر از سربازان ابراهيم را كتك زدند و ابراهيم هم به علت اينكه كتك نخورد كاغذ را نوشت در آن كاغذ نوشته بود هيچگونه عمل لواط انجام نداده ام در حين دعوا شلوارش به اندازه 20 سانتي از زير كمر پايين بود پس از نوشتن آن به ابراهيم گفت كه انگشت بزن ابراهيم از زدن انگشت خودداري مي كرد كه مآمور كلانتري با باتون به ابراهيم زد ابراهيم دستش را كشيد و باتون به روميزي افتاده كه روميزي از شيشه بود كه شكست حتي پول شيشه را از ابراهيم گرفت و ما هم بابت دادن پول شيشه فاكتور گرفتيم روز چهارم ما را به دادگاه كيفري استان تبريز آوردند مآمور بدرغه دستبند مرا باز كرد و مرا به طبقه همكف برد قاضي از من پرسيد چقدر در بازداشتگاه هريس مانده ايد من گفتم حدود سه روز در بازداشتگاه بودم او هم به يك جايي تلفن كرد و روي كاغذ چيزي نوشت بعد گفت برويد در حين راه از آقاي مآمور پرسيديم چه شد گفت تمام شد مي رويم به هريس حتي در حياط دادگستري دستبند مرا زد كه شاكي خوشحال شود پس از سوار شدن به ماشين دستبند همه ما را باز كرد به هريس رسيديم وقتي به كلانتري رفتيم مآمور بدرقه گفت قاضي كشيك نوشته كه مي توانيد با گذاشتن شناسنامه يا كارت ملي آزاد شويد مآموري كه ما را شكنجه كرده بود ممانعت كرد گفت من تا اينها را به زندان ندهم دست بر نمي دارم من گفتم چرا ما را آزاد نمي كنيد او به من ناسزا گفت بعد كتك زد و به بازداشتگاه انداخت آن روز مـآمور به هر جا كه توانست زنگ زد و دوباره صبح ما را به كلانتري 17 تبريز بردند و ما يك روز هم آنجا مانديم بعد ما را به دادگاه آوردند ما هم ماجرا را گفتيم ولي قاضي با صدور قرار 10 ميليون توماني به عنوان وثيقه ما را به زندان انداخت ما بعد از 28 روز ماندن در زندان با سپردن وثيقه آزاد شديم و حدود 55 روز بيرون مانديم كه در تاريخ 20/3/87 دادگاه ما تشكيل شد در دادگاه هر چه قبلآ گفته بوديم عنوان كرديم معاون دادستان در جلسه گفت تقاضاي حكم اعدام را دارم. نمي دانيم چه شد كه دوباره به زندان انداختند و بعد يك جلسه ديگر تشكيل شد در اين جلسه شاكي سه نفر را به عنوان شاهد آورد و آنها شهادت كذب دادند در صورتيكه از اول ماجرا تا آن روز شاكي گفته بود كه شاهدي ندارد و كسي ارتكاب جرم را نديده است پس از آن حكم اعدام هر چهار نفر ما را به وكيلمان ابلاغ كردند.

    ابراهيم حيدري نيز با تآييد صحبتهاي حميد مي گويد ما از قبل با شاكي و خا نواده اش اختلاف داشتيم آنها از ما شكايت كرده بودند و حال تهمت زده اند ما را در كلانتري فقط كتك زدند كه بايد اعتراف بدهيد ما هم اعتراف نداديم وقتي من را مي زدند شيشه روي ميز شكست و شيشه را خودم انداختم و فاكتور هم دارم مآمور كلانتري خودش صورتجلسه اي نوشت و به ما گفت امضاء و اثر انگشت بزنيد و ما هم انگشت زديم و بعد ما را بازداشت كردند او به من گفت تو بگو من اين كار را كردم من مشكل را حل مي كنم من قبول نكردم و دوباره كتك زد من براي اينكه ديگر كتك نخورم هر چه او گفت نوشتم و اثر انگشت زدم ما بي گناهيم و مرتكب جرم لواط نشديم.

    مهدي پوران كه 17 سال بيشتر نداشته و او نيز محكوم به اعدام شده است مي گويد من با محمد داشتيم در محلي كه پدر ابراهيم زمين داشت مي رفتيم كه ديديم چهارنفر زمين آنها را خراب مي كنند ما با آنها درگير شديم آنها با ابراهيم حرفشان شد وقتي دعوا تمام شد من با محمد آمدم و بعد حميد و ابراهيم با موتور رفتند ما از جلوي كلانتري مي رفتيم كه ما را گرفتند و بعد ابراهيم و حميد را آوردند و كتك زدند و به زور وادار كردند كه بگوييم اين كار را انجام داده ايم مآمور مي گفت من هر چه مي گويم آن را بنويس محمد هم همه حرفهاي ديگر متهمين را تكرار مي كند و مي گويد وقتي حكم اعدام را شنيديم شكه شديم و الان خواب و خوراك نداريم هر آن احساس مي كنيم كه مي خواهند طناب دار را به گردنمان بياندازند در حاليكه واقعآ ما بي گناهيم و به ما تهمت زده و پرونده سازي كرده اند.

    شعبه دوم دادگاه كيفري استان آذربايجان شرقي پس از گذشت سه ماه از تشكيل پرونده با استناد به علم قاضي در تاريخ 30/4/1387حكم به اعدام اين چهار نفر داده اند اينجانب اخيرآ وكالت آنها را پذيرفته ام و با ديدن راي صادره و مطالعه پرونده بسيار ناراحت و نگران شدم لذا براي نجات جان اين چهار نفر جوان بيگناه، اعتراض خود را در موعد مقرر به دادگاه خواهم داد تا قضات ديوانعالي كشور تصميم عادلانه اي مبني بر نقض دادنامه صادره بگيرند چرا كه در اين پرونده هيچگونه دليل محكمه پسندي بر گناهكاري و انتساب حد لواط به موكلينم وجود نداشته و با استناد به علم قاضي در مواقعي كه شك و شبهه در پرونده وجود دارد نمي توان كسي را به مرگ محكوم نمود به عنوان مثال شاكي در تمام مراحل دادرسي اعلام كرده است كه شاهدي برا اثبات ادعاي خود ندارم كه وقوع جرم را ديده باشند ولي در آخرين جلسه دادگاه سه نفر از اقوام خود را به عنوان شاهد معرفي و آنها نيز شهادت كذب به زيان موكل مي دهند.

    حال ملاحظه مي فرماييد كه چطور با ادعاي يك نفر و پيگيري وي و مظلوم نمايي مي توان زندگي چهار نفر را نابود كرد. جزئيات پرونده را متعاقبا درج خواهم كرد.





  8. #83
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Documentary Examines Iran’s ’Final Solution’ to Gay ’Problem’

    When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed last year that there were no homosexuals in Iran, the world reacted with skepticism. A new documentary film on how the Iranian government deals with gays might shed some light on what seems like an extraordinary claim.

    As reported in an Aug. 26 article posted by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian, born in Iran but now based in New York, has created a documentary titled be Like Others that explains how the Iranian government allows its gays men to do exactly that--by becoming other than the people they were born as.

    The film, which screens as part of Montreal’s World Film Festival, claims that Iran pays for gays to receive sex-change operations.

    To the Iranian government, this may seem like a more humane way of dealing with the "problem" of gays than the clerically mandated punishment of death to men who love other men.

    Eshaghian’s film shows interviews with women who were gay men before submitting to gender-reassignment surgery. It was not hard to find and interview her subjects; says Eshaghian, "It’s a very public phenomenon."

    Continued the filmmaker, "These sex changes are legal and are endorsed by the leading clerics. It’s embraced.

    "I asked for a press permit before I went. After a month, I was given the OK. Officially, I was allowed to do what I needed to do."

    Eshaghian noted that Iranians "don’t see it as an openly political issue."

    Added the filmmaker, "The rest was what you have to do with any documentary: spend a lot of time gaining trust."

    Though the West may not have heard about this manner of dealing with gays in Iran before now, it turns out that the practice has decades-old roots in a declaration by Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini that "diagnosed transsexuals" would be permitted to change their gender surgically.

    As with any issue regarding social and religious pressure to conform, the individuals who face sexual reassignment respond to their limited options with an array of attitudes.

    For some, it means a life-changing, even life-saving avenue out of government and faith-sanctioned persecution; for others, the article says, it is the least difficult of a short list of hard choices.

    The article noted that one former male, now a young woman, found that her boyfriend had lost interest once she became female.

    Another found that even though her religion accepted her as a woman, her family did not: rather than embracing the daughter they now had, the family regarded their gay, gender-reassigned offspring as a dead son.

    The article quoted Eshaghian as saying, "Here are individuals who are living in a very traditional culture, and they are on the margins."

    Noted the filmmaker, "Those people tend to show you how everyone else thinks.

    "I thought it would be a way to look at gender overall, through people who are not fitting in."

    But there are other ways of fitting in; as Eshaghian noted, money could provide a cushion, making it unnecessary for wealthy gay Iranians to endure the procedure, while the options left to the poor were more hard and fast.

    "If you’re poor, this is when the conformity is really expected of you," Eshaghian was quoted as saying.

    The film featured a startling depiction of religious zealotry in the person of an Iranian reporter who confronted a group of gay men about to undergo gender reassignment, telling them, the article said, that their fate was their own fault.

    Said Eshaghian of the reporter, "She has an identity that really could only have been created in the past 30 years, since the revolution.

    "There are no questions in her mind, there are no gray areas--everything is in black and white.

    "I envy her clarity," the filmmaker admitted, adding, "She was very happy--any time you get rid of ambiguity altogether, there’s an element of joy."

    Except, of course, for individuals on the wrong end of dogma.

    Even here, Eshaghian could intuit the reporter’s point of view. "Her point was that there are rules and rules are there to help you.

    "If you start cross-dressing before your operation, you bring the problems with the police upon yourself."

    Observed the filmmaker, "Islamic Iran and the Christian Right have so much in common--it’s just surprising that they’re not better friends."




  9. #84
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Iran Admits It Has Gay People … But Only a Few, Says President Ahmadinejad

    LONDON and NEW YORK, September 30, 2008 – The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has done an astonishing volte-face by admitting in a US television interview last week that there are lesbian and gay people in Iran.

    Only last year, in a speech at Columbia University in New York, he notoriously claimed there were no lesbians and gays in his country.

    “We do not have this phenomenon,” he declared.

    Last week, however, Ahmadinejad grudgingly conceded there “might be a few” gay people in Iran.

    “This about-turn shows that Iran realises its gay-denial stance has been widely condemned and ridiculed,” said Peter Tatchell of the London-based LGBT human rights campaign group OutRage!, which has been campaigning in support of Iranian LGBT people for nearly 20 years.

    “The fact that the President has moderated his ‘no gays’ position since last year is evidence that global gay protests are having an impact on the regime in Tehran,” Mr Tatchell said last night.

    However, although Ahmadinejad has conceded the existence of gay Iranians, he went on to make it clear that he doesn’t approve of their existence one iota.

    He denounced homosexuality as an “unlikable and foreign act” that is illegal because it is “against our values, and all divine laws….shakes the foundations of society….robs humanity….(and) brings about disease”.

    The Iranian President made these remarks during his visit to New York to speak to the UN General Assembly last week. He was interviewed on September 24 by reporters Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman from the US current affairs TV programme, Democracy Now.

    In the same TV interview, Ahmadinejad made this astonishing claim: “Sure, if somebody engages in an [homosexual] act in their own house without being known to others, we don't pay any attention to that. People are free to do what they like in their private realms. But nobody can engage in what breaks the law in public,” the President said.

    “This is complete nonsense,” Peter Tatchell insisted.

    “Iranian law stipulates the death penalty for homosexuality, whether in public or private.

    “People suspected of being gay have their homes raided. Private, discreet gay parties have been busted by the police and the party-goers arrested, tortured and flogged.

    “Years ago, some of those arrested at private parties simply disappeared. They were never seen again. It is presumed they were secretly executed,” said Mr Tatchell.

    When Gonzales and Goodman confronted Ahmadinejad with photos of two Iranian teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who were hanged in July 2005, his reply showed either remarkable ignorance of Iranian law or wilful dishonesty:

    “No, there is no law for their [gays] execution in Iran. Either they were drug traffickers or they killed someone else…. So, we don’t have executions of homosexuals,” the President said in the interview.

    “Of course, we consider it an abhorrent act, but it is not punished through capital punishment. It’s basically an immoral act. There are a lot of acts that can be immoral, but there's no capital punishment for them,” said the President.

    Mr Tatchell said that “this claim is factually untrue”.

    “None of the charges against Asgari and Marhoni involved drug trafficking or murder.

    “In years gone past, the Iranian government proudly boasted that it had the death penalty for gay sex and that it publicly hanged gay people,” Mr Tatchell added.

    “These latest statements by Ahmadinejad are much more defensive,” he suggested.

    “He strenuously denies that gay people can face execution. This shows that the regime no longer has the confidence to openly proclaim its violent homophobia. The persecution of gays continues in Iran but now, unlike before, the regime seeks to hide it and deny it.

    “This is strong evidence that the homophobic dictatorship in Tehran has been stung by international protests against its flogging and hanging of men involved in same-sex relations. It realises this persecution has been a public relations disaster which has greatly harmed Iran's international image.

    “Hence the current denials by Ahmadinejad.

    “It is proof that the global protests against Iran’s persecution of lesbian and gay people have been effective. We must maintain the worldwide campaign until Iran is so embarrassed by international condemnation that it completely halts the victimisation of gays,” added Mr Tatchell.

    Elsewhere in their interview with the Iranian President, Goodman and Gonzales pressed him as to why Iran is one of the few countries in the world that still executes juveniles (Asgari and Marhoni were minors when they allegedly committed the acts for which they were hanged).

    Ahmadinejad replied: “The legal age in Iran is different from yours. If a person who happens to be 17 years old and 9 months kills one of your relatives, would you just overlook that?”




  10. #85
    Member DokhtarIrooni's Avatar
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    someone should explain the meaning of "living in denial" to antarinejad

  11. #86
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    BBC defends satirical show over 'homophobic' complaint

    The BBC today denied it had been "homophobic" after a complaint was made to police about an episode of Have I Got News For You.











    The complaint was made about an extended edition of the programme, broadcast over the weekend.


    A discussion was taking place over reports that Iranians had failed in a bid to create to the world's biggest ostrich sandwich.


    "On the plus side they do still hold the record for hanging homosexuals," guest host Alexander Armstrong said.


    In a pun on words, comedian Frank Skinner joked that homosexuals are often "ostracised".


    A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed: "A member of the public has made a complaint regarding comments made in the programme.


    "The complaint is currently being reviewed."


    The BBC defended the current affairs show as crisis talks were being held by the BBC Trust into the prank phone calls made to Andrew Sachs by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand for a Radio 2 show.


    A BBC spokeswoman insisted that rather than being homophobic, the intention was quite the opposite.


    She said: "The presenter never intended for this comment to be homophobic - quite the opposite.


    "Viewers are more than familiar with HIGNFY use of satire - in this instance aimed at the Iranian regime and not the Iranian gay community."


    Armstrong has recently been hotly tipped to take over as the new Countdown presenter, something he was ribbed about on the BBC show.


    PinkNews.co.uk quoted a man named Lionel Wright from London, who said he had put in complaints about the matter to various bodies including the police.


    He said: "I'm a middle-aged gay man who, in common with millions of others lived the first decades of my life under the shadow of prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities and at a cost in personal happiness and fulfilment."


    He said he was "sickened" at the BBC.


    But rights campaigner Peter Tatchell disagreed.


    "I appreciate the complainant's concerns and good intentions but I interpreted it as an anti-Iran joke, exposing and mocking Iran's murderous homophobic regime," he told the website.


    "It was parody and satire, I think, not an endorsement of executions."




  12. #87
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    New Play About the Two ‘Gay’ Iranian Teens Executed in 2005 Opens This Week in Chicag

    A play centred around Ayaz Marhouni and Mahmoud Asgari, the two Iranian teenagers executed in Iran three years ago and who were widely thought to have been gay, is set to have its world premier in Chicago this week.

    Haram Iran, written by Chicago lawyer Jay Paul Deratany and directed by David Zak, is based on the true story about the trial of two Iranian teenagers in Mashad, Iran in 2005.

    The play tells the story of two boys coming of age, and struggling with their identities as Arab Iranians, and as typical teenagers longing to discover their place in the world.

    Ayaz Marhouni and Mahmoud Asgari, the two fifteen year old boys who may have been gay or may have been experimenting with their sexuality – like many teenagers do, get caught in a compromised position, publicly humiliated and tried in the Iranian legal system.

    The story follows the boys’ passions – one for literature and the other for sports – and both for each other. It takes the audience into the complexity of their relationship, and then the horrifying ordeal of being tried by an unforgiving Iranian legal system which misinterprets the Muslim law of Sharia.

    “The dates, names and many of the facts are true, however the trial scenes and much of the side story of the boys is fictional since it is not known exactly what occurred during the trial,” playwright Jay Paul Deratany explains.

    “What is known is that they were adolescents, who were tried and sentenced for the ‘sin’ of homosexuality,” he said.

    Following their execution and the outrage in the international media, the charge was altered to the “rape of a younger boy”.

    “I spent several months researching the boys, story, and there were a lot of conflicts,” he explained. “However, sources such as UK Gay News, Direland and other news publications provided a rich source of information, and a common consensus developed.

    “The bottom line is two young boys were killed for the ‘crime’ of being gay,” he said.

    In Iran thousands of people, including children, are jailed or killed each year, some because they are women who have had pre-maritial sex, and others because they are considered to be homosexual.

    The play involves some nudity, and violence, and a criticism of Iranian politics together with their very flawed legal system.

    However, it does not critique or criticize Muslims, or the Muslim faith, which is a loving and peaceful religion, Mr. Deratany pointed out.

    “In fact, to the contrary … it draws the distinction between a loving faith and some of its misguided extremist followers.

    “This play is about exposing the human rights violations being committed on a daily basis, therefore I will be donating a significant portion of the of the profits from this play to Amnesty International for the aid and assistance to Iranians who suffer from torture and injustice,” he added.




  13. #88
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    Iran’s gay exiles seek help in Turkey

    ISTANBUL - Gays, lesbians and transsexuals suffer discrimination throughout the world, but in Iran, the difficulties are compounded by the government’s denial of their very existence.

    "There are no gays in Iran" was the statement made in New York last year by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in response to a question on the difficulties gays faced in Iran. It was met with incredulous smiles from the American audience he was addressing, but certainly could not have been more hurtful to the gays of his country.

    Aside from negative social reactions toward people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, the Islamic government of Iran recognizes homosexual intercourse as a "crime," penalized, at worst with the death penalty, at best a whipping.

    This is why Iranian LGBTs, like many other oppressed groups, are looking for ways to flee their home country and many use Turkey as a temporary stop, until their asylum applications elsewhere are approved.

    Arsham Parsi, an Iranian gay rights activist and founder of the Canada-based organization "Iranian Queer Railroad," tries to help asylum-seeking Iranian LGBTs during the lengthy and often painful asylum process. As he was a refugee himself in the past, Parsi knows personally the difficulties Iranian homosexuals endure while trying to escape, having experienced it first hand on his own "trip" from Iran to Canada, through Turkey.

    The name of his organization is inspired from "The Underground Railroad," which was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses for black slaves, who wanted to flee the southern United States in the 19th century.

    "In 2001, two of my gay friends committed suicide, as their families found out about their sexual orientation. I decided then to found an organization for LGBTs." Parsi told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport on Thursday, after completing a visit to some central Anatolian provinces where most Iranian LGBT asylum seekers are to be found.

    Parsi left Iran in 2005 and came to Kayseri, in central Anatolia, after he realized that Iranian police were looking for him because of his LGBT activities. "Turkey and Iran do not require visas for trips between them and transportation between the two countries is easy. We have buses everyday and also trains and planes," Parsi said. Currently there are around 160 Iranian LGBTs refugees throughout the world, 100 of who are in Turkey.

    One of the most significant problems faced by Iranian refugees is a financial problem, Parsi said. These people, mainly young Iranians in their early 20s, meet with poverty after they run away. They need money for food, shelter and health care. Mistreatment from local residents, and sometimes from security forces, also makes their lives difficult. "They are beaten up for being homosexual and when they call police officers they do not let them file a compliant," Parsi said. "When I was in Kayseri, I was attacked and called the police. They asked me why I was outside and told me to stay at home."

    Locals and police are not gay-friendly, Parsi said. For instance, finding a house in the city is difficult, as landlords do not rent houses to single people. LGBTs then, try to find a gay-friendly couple and rent a house through them. It is also difficult to find jobs if they decide to work because they do not have a work permit. "They look for jobs like dish-washing or waiting. They work for almost a month and are then dismissed without being paid," Parsi said. Parsi, however, is also grateful to the Turkish government for allowing refugees to stay in Turkey.

    The authorities settle refugees in Anatolian provinces such as Kayseri, Isparta, Konya and Niğde, which are known as conservative cities. The majority of LGBT Iranians stay in Kayseri, which is very conservative, although Isparta is a little bit better because the number of university students is high among the town’s population, Parsi said.

    "I tell my fellows that Turkey is a secular country, but the people are religious, whereas Iran has a religious government but Iranians are secular," Parsi said, comparing the two countries.

    Needing a sister organization
    Parsi said there was a need for a sister organization in Turkey to support LGBT Iranians. He is familiar with both Kaos GL and LAMBDA Istanbul, two leading Turkish LGBT organizations. More efficient cooperation is needed, however, to ease bureaucratic processes, increase financial assistance to refugees and support their health care needs. "I also considered registering an ’Iranian Queer Railroad’ in Turkey," Parsi said.




  14. #89

  15. #90
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    Part I


    When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his infamous claim at a September 2007 Columbia University appearance that ""In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country," the world laughed at the absurdity of this pretense.

    Now, a forthcoming book by a leading Iranian scholar in exile, which details both the long history of homosexuality in that nation and the origins of the campaign to erase its traces, not only provides a superlative reply to Ahmadinejad, but demonstrates forcefully that political homophobia was a Western import to a culture in which same-sex relations were widely tolerated and frequently celebrated for well over a thousand years.


    "Sexual Politics in Modern Iran," to be published at the end of next month by Cambridge University Press, is a stunningly researched history and analysis of the evolution of gender and sexuality that will provide a transcendent tool both to the vibrant Iranian women's movement today fighting the repression of the ayatollahs and to Iranian same-sexers hoping for liberation from a theocracy that condemns them to torture and death.

    Its author, Janet Afary, president of the International Society of Iranian Scholars, is a professor of history and women's studies at Purdue University who has already published several authoritative works on Iranian sexual politics, notably the revealing and award-winning "Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islam" (2005), in which she already demonstrated a remarkable sympathy for gay and lesbian people.

    In her new book, Afary's extensive section on pre-modern Iran, documented by a close reading of ancient texts, portrays the dominant form of same-sex relations as a highly-codified "status-defined homosexuality," in which an older man - presumably the active partner in sex - acquired a younger partner, or amrad.

    Afary demonstrates how, in this period, "male homoerotic relations in Iran were bound by rules of courtship such as the bestowal of presents, the teaching of literary texts, bodybuilding and military training, mentorship, and the development of social contacts that would help the junior partner's career. Sometimes men exchanged vows, known as brotherhood sigehs [a form of contractual temporary marriage, lasting from a few hours to 99 years, common among heterosexuals] with homosocial or homosexual overtones.

    "These relationships were not only about sex, but also about cultivating affection between the partners, placing certain responsibilities on the man with regard to the future of the boy. Sisterhood sigehs involving lesbian practices were also common in Iran. A long courtship was important in these relations. The couple traded gifts, traveled together to shrines, and occasionally spent the night together. Sigeh sisters might exchange vows on the last few days of the year, a time when the world 'turned upside down,' and women were granted certain powers over men."

    Examples of the codes governing same-sex relations were to be found in the "Mirror for Princes genre of literature (andarz nameh) [which] refers to both homosexual and heterosexual relations. Often written by fathers for sons, or viziers for sultans, these books contained separate chapter headings on the treatment of male companions and of wives."

    One such was the Qabus Nameh (1082-1083), in which a father advises a son: "As between women and youths, do not confine your inclinations to either sex; thus you may find enjoyment from both kinds without either of the two becoming inimical to you... During the summer let your desires incline toward youths, and during the winter towards women."

    Afary dissects how "classical Persian literature (twelfth to fifteenth centuries)...overflowed with same-sex themes (such as passionate homoerotic allusions, symbolism, and even explicit references to beautiful young boys.)" This was true not only of the Sufi masters of this classical period but of "the poems of the great twentieth-century poet Iraj Mirza (1874-1926)... Classical poets also celebrated homosexual relationships between kings and their pages."

    Afary also writes that "homosexuality and homoerotic expressions were embraced in numerous other public spaces beyond the royal court, from monasteries and seminaries to taverns, military camps, gymnasiums, bathhouses, and coffeehouses... Until the mid-seventeenth century, male houses of prostitution (amrad khaneh) were recognized, tax-paying establishments."

    While Afary explores the important role of class in same-sex relations, she also illuminates how "Persian Sufi poetry, which is consciously erotic as well as mystical, also celebrated courtship rituals between [men] of more or less equal status... The bond between lover and beloved was... based on a form of chivalry (javan mardi). Love led one to higher ethical ideals, but love also constituted a contract, wherein the lover and the beloved had specific obligations and responsibilities to one another, and the love that bound them both... Sufi men were encouraged to use homoerotic relations as a pathway to spiritual love."

    Unmistakably lesbian sigeh courtship rituals, which continued from the classical period into the twentieth century, were also codified: "Tradition dictated that one [woman] who sought another as 'sister' approached a love broker to negotiate the matter. The broker took a tray of sweets to the prospective beloved. In the middle of the tray was a carefully placed dildo or doll made of wax or leather. If the beloved agreed to the proposal, she threw a sequined white scarf (akin to a wedding veil) over the tray... If she was not interested, she threw a black scarf on the tray before sending it back."

    As late as the last half of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, "Iranian society remained accepting of many male and female homoerotic practices... Consensual and semi-open pederastic relations between adult men and amrads were common within various sectors of society." What Afary terms a "romantic bisexuality" born in the classical period remained prevalent at court and among elite men and women, and "a form of serial love ('eshq-e mosalsal) was commonly practiced [in which] their love could shift back and forth from girl to boy and back to girl."

    In the court of Naser al-Din Shah, who ruled Persia from 1848 to 1896, keeping boy concubines was still an acceptable practice, and the shah himself (in addition to his wives and harem) had a young male lover, Malijak, whom he "loved more than anyone else." In his memoirs, Malijak recalled proudly, "the king's love for me reached the point where it is impossible for me to write about it... [He] held me in his arms and kissed me as if he were kissing one of his great beloveds."

    In a lengthy section of her book entitled "Toward a Westernized Modernity," Afary demonstrates how the trend toward modernization which emerged during the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and which gave the Persian monarchy its first parliament was heavily influenced by concepts harvested from the West.

    One of her most stunning revelations is how an Azeri-language newspaper edited and published in the Russian Caucuses, Molla Nasreddin (or MN, which appeared from 1906 to 1931) influenced this Iranian Revolution with a "significant new discourse on gender and sexuality," sharing Marx's well-documented contempt for homosexuals. With an editorial board that embraced Russian social democratic concepts, including women's rights, MN was also "the first paper in the Shi'i Muslim world to endorse normative heterosexuality," echoing Marx's well-documented contempt for homosexuality. Afary writes that "this illustrated satirical paper, which circulated among Iranian intellectuals and ordinary people alike, was enormously popular in the region because of its graphic cartoons."

    MN conflated homosexuality and pedophilia, and attacked clerical teachers and leaders for "molesting young boys," played upon feelings of "contempt" for passive homosexuals, suggested that elite men who kept amrad concubines "had a vested interested in maintaining the (male) homosocial public spaces where semi-covert pederasty was tolerated," and "mocked the rites of exchanging brotherhood vows before a mollah and compared it to a wedding ceremony." It was in this way that a discourse of political homophobia developed in Europe, which insisted that only heterosexuality could be the norm, was introduced into Iran.

    MN's attacks on homosexuality "would shape Iranian debates on sexuality for the next century," and it "became a model for several Iranian newspapers of the era," which echoed its attacks on the conservative clergy and leadership for homosexual practices. In the years that followed, "Iranian revolutionaries commonly berated major political figures for their sexual transgressions," and "revolutionary leaflets accused adult men of having homosexual sex with other adult men, 'of thirty-year-olds propositioning fifty-year-olds and twenty-year-olds propositioning forty-year-olds, right in front of the Shah.' Some leaflets repeated the old allegation that major political figures had been amrads in their youth."

    Subsequently, "leading constitutionalists enthusiastically joined the campaign against homosexuality," writes Afary, noting that "the influential journal Kaveh (1916-1921), published in exile in Berlin and edited by the famous constitutionalist Hasan Taqizadeh, had led the movement of opinion against homosexuality... Their notion of modernization now included the normalization of heterosexual eros and the abandonment of all homosexual practices and even inclinations."




  16. #91
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    Part II
    When Reza Kahn overthrew the monarchy's Qajar dynasty and made himself shah in 1925, he ushered in a new wave of reforms and modernization that included attempts to outlaw homosexuality entirely and a ferocious - ultimately successful - assault on classical Persian poetry. Iraj Mirza, previously known for his homoerotic poems, "joined other leading political figures of this period in encouraging compulsory heterosexuality." These politicians and intellectuals insisted that "true patriotism required switching one's sexual orientation from boys to women... Other intellectuals and educators pressed for the elimination of poems with homosexual themes from school textbooks."

    Leading this crusade was a famous historian and prolific journalist, Ahmad Kasravi, "who helped shape many cultural and educational policies during the 1930s and 1940s." Kasravi founded a nationalist movement, Pak Dini (Purity of Religion), which developed a broad following. An admirer of MN, Kasravi preached that "homosexuality was a measure of cultural backwardness," that Sufi poets of homoeroticism led "parasitic" lives, and that their queer poetry "was dangerous and had to be eliminated."

    Kasravi's Pak Dini movement "went so far as to institute a festival of book burning, held on winter solstice. Books deemed harmful and amoral were thrown into a bonfire in an event that seemed to echo the Nazi and Soviet-style notions of eliminating 'degenerate' art." Eventually, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jam, who held office from 1935 to 1939, acceded to Kasravi's demand that homoerotic poems be banned entirely from daily newspapers.

    Kasravi "based his opposition to the homoeroticism of classical poetry on several assumptions. He expected the young generation to study Western sciences in order to rebuild the nation, and he regarded Sufi poetry as a dangerous diversion. As preposterous as it might sound, Kasravi also argued that the revival of Persian poetry was a grand conspiracy concocted by British and German Orientalists to divert the nation's youth from the revolutionary legacy of the Constitutional Revolution and to encourage... immoral pursuits."

    Afary adds sorrowfully that "most supporters of women's rights sympathized with Kasravi's project because he encouraged the cultivation of monogamous, heterosexual love in marriage... In this period, neither Kasravi nor feminists distinguished between rape or molestation of boys and consensual same-sex relations between adults."

    The expansion of radio, television, and print media in the 1940s - including a widely read daily, Parcham, published from 1941 by Kasravi's Pak Dini movement - resulted in a nationwide discussion about the evils of pederasty and, ultimately, in significant official censorship of literature. References to same-sex love and the love of boys were eliminated in textbooks and even in new editions of classical poetry. "Classical poems were now illustrated by miniature paintings celebrating heterosexual, rather than homosexual, love and students were led to believe that the love object was always a woman, even when the text directly contradicted that assumption," Arafy writes.

    In the context of a triumphant censorship that erased from the popular collective memory the enormous literary and cultural heritage of what Afary terms "the ethics of male love" in the classical Persian period, it is hardly surprising as Afary earlier noted in "Foucault and the Iranian Revolution" that the virulence of the current Iranian regime's anti-homosexual repression stems in part from the role homosexuality played in the 1979 revolution that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers to power.

    In that earlier work, she and her co-author, Kevin B. Anderson, wrote: "There is... a long tradition in nationalist movements of consolidating power through narratives that affirm patriarchy and compulsory heterosexuality, attributing sexual abnormality and immorality to a corrupt ruling elite that is about to be overthrown and/or is complicit with foreign imperialism. Not all the accusations leveled against the [the deposed shah of Iran, and his] Pahlevi family and their wealthy supporters stemmed from political and economic grievances. A significant portion of the public anger was aimed at their 'immoral' lifestyle. There were rumors that a gay lifestyle was rampant at the court. The shah's prime minister, Amir Abbas Hoveyda, was said to have been a homosexual. The satirical press routinely lampooned him for his meticulous attire, the purple orchid in his lapel, and his supposed marriage of convenience. The shah himself was rumored to be bisexual. There were reports that a close male friend of the shah from Switzerland, a man who knew him from their student days in that country, routinely visited him.

    "But the greatest public outrage was aimed at two young, elite men with ties to the court who held a mock wedding ceremony. Especially to the highly religious, this was public confirmation that the Pahlevi house was corrupted with the worst kinds of sexual transgressions, that the shah was no longer master of his own house. These rumors contributed to public anger, to a sense of shame and outrage, and ultimately were used by the Islamists in their calls for a revolution."

    Soon after coming to power in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini established the death penalty for homosexuality.

    In "Sexual Politics in Modern Iran," Afary sums up the situation for homosexuals under the Ahmadinejad regime in this way: "While the shari'a [Islamic law] requires either the actual confession of the accused or four witnesses who observed them in flagrante delicto, today's authorities look only for medical evidence of penetration in homosexual relationships. Upon finding such evidence, they pronounce the death sentence. Because execution of men on charges of homosexuality has prompted international outrage, the state has tended to compound these charges with others, such as rape and pedophilia. Continual use of these tactics has undermined the status of Iran's gay community and attenuated public sympathy for them. Meanwhile, many Iranians believe that pedophilia is rampant in the religious cities of Qum and Mashad, including in the seminaries, where temporary marriage and prostitution are also pervasive practices." (Full disclosure: in her section on gays in today's Iran, Afary cites my reporting several times and thanks me in the book's acknowledgements for sharing materials and insights with her.)

    In this necessarily truncated summary of some of Afary's most significant and nuanced findings and revelations with respect to homosexuality, it is impossible to do justice to the full sweep and scope of "Sexual Politics in Iran," the larger part of which is devoted to the role of Iranian women, and to their struggles for freedom which began in the 19th century. But as Afary herself writes, "[F]or a very long time even talking about the pervasive homoeroticism of the region's premodern culture had been labeled 'Orientalism'... [but] increasingly I found that one could not simply talk about gender and women's rights, particularly rights within marriage, without addressing the subject of same-sex relations."

    This she has done with uncommon sensitivity, intellectual rigor, engagement, subtlety, and skill.

    And for that, both Iranian lesbians and gays and feminists in that nation owe Afary an enormous debt of gratitude, as do all of us concerned with sexual liberation for everyone worldwide.




  17. #92
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Homosexual Iranian man from Shiraz

    Clip description says: "Four young gay Iranians flee to Turkey and beyond - a poignant story of punishment, persecution and, ultimately, promise. One escapee is now politically active in Canada."

    Gay rights activist Arsham Parsi is featured.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItZe46r-OR0[/ame]

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM9VgA6vB2A[/ame]




  18. #93
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    Maro Bebakhsh

    Anonymous Sinners


    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_S9ZwYvg9CI[/ame]




  19. #94
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    Gay Iranians

    Seeking asylum in UK


    A remarkable insight into the lives of two gay Iranian men living in Leeds. We follow them as they establish their new lives in the UK and the setting up of a new support group by the two who have become friends since arriving in Bradford. They both fled Iran after their boyfriends were captured by the authorities, one of whom was tragically executed.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjddMxA6Ou0




  20. #95
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    Vahid Kiani Motlagh, the 32-year-old Iranian gay refugee who faced deportation in the next few days, was transferred yesterday morning from the Saint-Exupery (Lyons) detention centre in France to Fiumicino airport, in Rome, Italy, on the grounds of the Dublin Convention and the Dublin II Directive. He was released in the afternoon by Italian Police.

    The Chairman of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini has personally taken an interest in the case after EveryOne Group's appeal, activating diplomacy policy with the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, Franco Frattini, and the Farnesina, who reassured us that everyone is working on Vahid's case: Vahid will not be deported back to Iran and will soon obtain humanitarian protection and refugee status in Italy” announced Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, co-presidents of the international human rights organization.

    It has been a difficult campaign which we at EveryOne Group followed step by step, through diplomacy with the French and Italian institutions and authorities, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the European Parliament - thanks to the Italian official, Ottavio Marzocchi, member of the Radical association Certi Diritti, who worked together with us to save Vahid's life.

    EveryOne Group, together with Vahid and his partner Patrick, has sent a message of thanks to the Radical association “Certi Diritti” and the Massimo Consoli Foundation in Rome; to Gianfranco Fini and his political advisor Alessandro Cortese; to Arcigay Rome, which is now following Vahid's humanitarian protection's instances; to MPs Concia and Della Vedova; MEPs Lambert, Romeva, Cashman, In´t Veld, Lunacek, Gröner; to Dirk De Marileir, ILGA-Europe Director; to the Italian Republican Party and to the Italian young Jews' movement, who asked the Italian Government to respect Vahid's rights; to the journalist of the La Repubblica newspaper, Mr. Giampaolo Cadalanu; to LGBT blogs and websites for their interest in the case; to Arcilesbica Rome, Azione Trans, GayNet and the international human rights organizations network who cooperated on the case.




  21. #96
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    Thumbs down

    Muslim-majority Malaysia has banned British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's raunchy comedy "Bruno" because it contains "a lot of sex," a senior official said Tuesday.

    The film, which stars Cohen as a gay Austrian fashionista, has been a box office hit in some countries while being banned elsewhere for over-the-top scenes including sex acts and full-frontal nudity.

    "The movie has been banned in Malaysia because of the sexual content. It was decided by a three-man committee. (There is) a lot of sex in it," an official with the National Film Censorship Board told AFP.

    He said the panel judges movies based on whether they feature violence, horror, sex or counter-cultural themes.

    "In the case of Bruno, the ban is based on its sex and counter-culture content," he said on condition of anonymity.

    The government confirmed the ban, saying the movie contained pornographic scenes and touched on the sensitivities of Christians.

    "The National Film Censorship Board found the film produced by Universal Picture Productions was not in line with the culture and ethics as well as way of life in the country," the home ministry said in a statement.

    Following the same format as his 2006 movie "Borat," Cohen's character travels to the United States where bizarre scenarios unfold including one where he mimes sexual activity while visiting a medium.

    Other controversial scenes include Bruno and his boyfriend engaged in sexual acts and couples having sex at a swingers' party.

    "Borat" was also banned in Malaysia, a conservative country with a multicultural population including 60 percent Muslim Malays.

    Since last year alone, Malaysia has banned five movies, the most recent being US horror film Halloween II, written and directed by Rob Zombie.




  22. #97
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    Ramin

    What does it like being gay in Iran?





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