It should come as no surprise that gays in Iraq aren’t the only Middle Eastern homos facing persecution. We’re also being targeted in Iran, where election protests, violence, and censorship are dominating the news cycle. But a small but growing number of headlines showcase the situation in Iran. And it is dire. Permit us this copy/paste from Toronto’s student-led Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO).
The Homosexual community of Iran has been living under harsh conditions of harassment and fear. We identify with the pain the People endured this last week; those who fought back tears and kept calm under attacks and assaults in which silence was the most effective or only shield. These days, the Government is dismissing demands for justice, opening fire on people, and calling them “less then dust,” “dirt,” “dirty” and “fags,” eliciting years of dual oppression in the mind of homosexual community. Iranian queers have been struggling with the merciless oppressive Regime for years; we know very well what it means to endure cruelty. In recent days, the Islamic Regime has been treating people in the same way it has treated the queer community over the past three decades. It is with this understanding in mind and with a hope for a fair and free future based on equality that we fight side by side, hand in hand against the dictator. We urge the international LGBT community to hear our voice and hear the People of Iran in their demand for new elections. We ask the international LGBT community to assist us in alerting the world of the cruelties and the killings taking place in Iran during these days. We fear that in the days to come, if the dictator wins, a generation — our generation — will simply be eliminated.
These days, the queer movement of Iran is alongside the people’s movement. We are certain that the death of democracy in Iran will sooner or later mean the death of all humanity. We are certain that in the denial of civil and individual rights – as Ahamdinejad did in his first speech after his second round of his appointment to power, calling all protesters “thieves,” “ruffians”, and “fags” – all hopes for a civil society will be wiped out. Yet we live with the hope of rescuing Iran from the spread of fascism. On the fourth day of the Silent Resistance, one protester held a placard pronouncing: I’m not afraid of death, my fear is of life … three days has passed already. Equality, social justice, respect for different ethnicities, religions, languages, and sexual minorities are indeed possible, if people are not denied their rights within the framework of democracy.
We ask the international community, the international LGBT community, and human rights organizations or the world to be watchful of the atrocities in the streets of Iran today, to respect the Iranian people’s vote and their wish to live in a democratic society, and to refuse to recognise Ahmadinejad as Iran’s elected president until a new election is held in the presence of UN monitors. We ask the international community to support people of Iran through diplomatic pressure and UN intervention.