"We are everywhere" proclaimed Iranian homosexuals around the world in a collective online ‘coming out’ over the past few weeks. They are sending out a message of solidarity, particularly to the homosexuals living in Iran whose sexual preference could cost them their lives.
To mark the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, Arsham Parsi, the founder of the Toronto based ‘Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees’, encouraged members of the gay Iranian community to share their experiences and post videos on Facebook. In response, dozens of Iranians decided to step out of the closet.
For now, the rights of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people in Iran are non-existent. All sexual relations outside of traditional marriage are illegal and considered to be a violation of divine will.
According to the Iranian interpretation of Sharia law, sodomy is a crime in which both partners can be punished by death. In theory, the death penalty applies only to adult and consensual homosexual partners. Nevertheless, in 2005 two teenage boys, one of whom was a minor, were hanged in the northern city of Mashad for having sexual relations together.
In 2007, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proclaimed at Columbia University in New York that there were ‘no homosexuals in Iran.’
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