Gay-friendly voice in Iran: Homophobia is un-Islamic

The head of the Iranian Social Workers Association, Dr. Mostafa Eghlima, recently spoke against homophobia in an article in Iran’s popular online Nameh News. Several excerpts are reprinted below, as translated by Hossein Alizadeh, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Don’t take this article as evidence of a widespread change in official Iranian attitudes toward LGBT people.  Alizadeh notes that the article has been taken off the website that published it, as well as from a couple of other websites that republished it.

Dr. Mostafa Eghlima. leader of the Iranian Social Workers Association.
Dr. Mostafa Eghlima. leader of the Iranian Social Workers Association.

Homosexuals are biologically different from other people.. This doesn’t make them a sinner or a criminal… This biological difference is something similar to difference in height: you can’t ostracize people from society because they are shorter than others….
Those who are against homosexuals have a Middle Ages mentality. We should see all men as God’s creatures and not judge them based on their color, height, or social status….
Those officials who are against homosexuals have no education in this field and cause a lot of social problems with their policies…
No one can deny these people’s right to life…. They are not mentally challenged… It is the social and family pressure that drives these people to a corner.. Some family treat their homosexual members as if they have leprosy… If we don’t interfere in their lives, homosexuals will have no problem. They don’t need surgery to change their body and increase their problems 10 fold…
Homosexuals face discrimination in the job market, even when they are the most qualified candidates… Should we punish a man because God has given him a different speech pattern? We have no right to harm God’s creatures.. Harming homosexuals is selfish and ignorant.. similar to harming someone because they are disabled.. Islam treats all people equally… If we were to follow the letter of the law, everyone should be treated the same…
Homosexuals are like other human beings..They are quieter than other people and bother nobody…So why should we go after them? Simply because they speak effeminately we should give them a hard time?
In this society from the government to the police give homosexuals a hard time… The family members make fun of them. Parents are nasty to them… They can find no job. What are they supposed to do? We have buried these people alive.. We have taken everything away from these people… This is inhumane and un-Islamic.
In the past homosexuals had their place in the society and nobody bothered them… As long as the government discriminate against homosexuals there is going to be a problem.. We should let these people into the society so that they can be productive and can challenge stereotypes.
Eghlima’s comments are a striking departure from the typical attitude of Iran’s political and religious leaders about homosexuality.

In Iran, same-sex intercourse between men is punishable by death.

 

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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