New tools to fight anti-gay repression in Iran

The human rights organization IGLHRC has created an online toolkit to help with the struggle against Iran’s inhumane anti-gay laws. Here’s the group’s announcement:

Screenshot of IGLHRC's Iran website
Screenshot of IGLHRC’s Iran website

IGLHRC Announces New Resources for Defenders of LGBT Rights in Iran
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(30 April 2014—New York) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is pleased to announce the launch of its new series of Persian publications and a mobile-friendly website on Iranian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. The manuals are tools developed by a team of experts for use by journalists, lawyers, activists, educators, LGBT community members, and allies. They address challenges related to sexuality, gender, and LGBT rights, and are guideposts for working to end anti-LGBT discrimination in Iran.
Iran’s new Islamic Penal Code, passed in 2013, criminalizes any freely and mutually agreed sexual relations between members of the same sex, with punishment ranging from 100 lashes for sexual intercourse between women (Article 239) to death penalty for consensual sexual relations between two men (Article 234). The law also criminalizes other non-sexual acts between members of the same sex, including touching and intimate kissing, which is punishable by up to seventy-four lashes (Article 237).
Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC’s regional program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, shown during 2009 interview with Aljazeera about the persecution of sexual minorities in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC’s regional program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, shown during 2009 interview with Aljazeera about the persecution of sexual minorities in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

“Despite extensive anti-homosexuality propaganda by the Iranian state-run media and the strict laws that penalize consensual same-sex relations, the Iranian LGBT community is resilient,” said Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC’s Regional Program Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa. He continued, “LGBT human rights advocates continue to strive for social recognition, legal equality, and physical protection within Iran. We believe these publications will help with ongoing efforts of the Iranian LGBT community and their allies by providing educational resources that can benefit from them as well as the society at-large.”
The five manuals, available online, discuss challenges and frequently asked questions regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and the human rights situation for LGBT people within the social and legal climate in Iran. They are intended to support the work of the LGBT community, activists, and individuals in Iran.
To make these new resources available to a wide audience both in and outside of Iran, IGLHRC has developed a mobile-optimized website in Persian. The website includes extensive information on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Iran. View IGLHRC’s Iran website at http://iglhrc.org/iran/.
IGLHRC will also make select titles from the series available in English in the near future.
The five manuals now available in Persian:

The United Nations publication “Born Free and Equal,” [an English-language version of the 64-page booklet is here in PDF form] translated by IGLHRC into Persian, is also available on the IGLHRC website as well as from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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