Activist Aims At Change of Perspective

‘NY Times’ Reverses Gay Iranian Stance?

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The world’s been all about gay Iranians since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ridiculously reported that his fair nation has no homos. Never one to miss a trend, the New York Times‘ Saturday edition published a look at gay life in Iran.

It’s a pretty straight forward examination of the closet’s dastardly affects on queer life in Iran. What’s most intriguing, however, is that the paper suddenly realized how much gays suffer in Iran, particularly “gay” teens Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari, who were executed in 2005. In this Saturday’s piece, Nazila Fathi writes:

For a country that is said to have no homosexuality, Iran goes to great lengths to ban it. Gays are punished by lashing or death if it is proved that they have had homosexual relations. Two gay teenagers were executed in 2005 in Mashad, a northeastern city.

As Michael Petrelis points out, however, a 2005 story on Marhoni and Asgari neglects to mention the boys’ alleged homosexuality. Rather, they’re framed as sexual predators. The international outcry is then presented as a matter of age, not sexuality.

Human rights advocates have condemned the execution last week of two young men convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy, calling it a violation of international law.

The ages of the two men were not announced by Iranian officials at the time of the execution, which took place on July 19 in Mashad in northeast Iran. But Human Rights Watch said they were 18 and 19, and the younger man was a juvenile when the assault took place.

This sudden change of perspective, of course, leaves Petrelis scatching his head and saying, “How queer…”