(Video) Meeting in secret, living in fear: Members of Iran’s LGBT community tell of arrests, beatings, rape – and escape to the West. But ‘people are showing less fear of the Islamic regime,’ they say
By Dudi Cohen
August 22, 2010
VIDEO – Last month, quietly, under the nose of the ayatollah regime, a group of Iranian homosexuals
decided to celebrate the national LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) day. Naturally, however, they were unable to march through the streets of Tehran waving the rainbow Pride flags as they passed the house of President Mahmoud .
“It was a small event, less than 12 people,” says Faruh, an Iranian homosexual and member of an organization that assists homosexuals who have fled the . “They had a ceremony at home and then went
out for a drive.”
One reason the event encountered no difficulties and without arrests, he says, was that the participants didn’t spend much time organizing it and didn’t say a word about it. “They said they waved Pride flags but it was probably not for long,” he adds. “It was probably inside the car where nobody saw.”
In Ahmadinejad’s , young people with different sexual mores are not welcome. Just last month, police burst into a party in Shiraz and arrested 17 homosexuals after they were caught with drugs and alcohol, according to the police. Rights organizations say 11 homosexuals face the death sentence just for their sexual preferences.
Meeting places in each big city
Though the authorities refuse to recognize them, homosexuals still find ways of meeting.
“In every big city there are recognized places where the community meets,” an activist in the Tehran community, who asks not to be identified, tells Ynet. “There are cafes which dedicate an evening to homosexuals, and once in a while the meeting place changes.”
The activist, who writes a blog on homosexuality and distributes information to people who have no internet access, is not afraid. “I grew up in fear, and I’m used to it,” he says. “After a while, the fear becomes a part of life and you stop being afraid.”
Iranian homosexuals also meet over the internet, of course, on sites like manjam.com which has thousands of members. “It happens on the net, and it’s quite dangerous,” says Arsham Parsi, head of Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees.