Iran has a reputation for being intensely homophobic, and a new study of Iranian officials’ remarks about homosexuals shows why. “Lower than animals”, “savagery”, “subhuman”, “corrupt”, “diseased”, “western” and “Zionist” are among the terms that Iranian officials use to describe LGBT people.
The study by the Iranian lesbian and transgender network 6Rang analyzed Iranian officials’ published remarks over the past six year. In a briefing that took its provocative title from remarks by a former member of parliament, 6Rang reported:
Consistent and widespread official hate speech against LGBT People in Iran
18 December 2017 – A new briefing published by Iranian Lesbian & Transgender Network 6Rang outlines the consistent and widespread use of hate speech against LGBT people in Iran by Iranian officials; including the supreme leader, military officials, Friday prayer leaders, high-level state officials, and state controlled media outlets.
The briefing “It’s a great honor to violate homosexuals’ rights”: Official hate speech against LGBT people in Iran’ has monitored the content of newspapers and state controlled media between 2011 and 2017, and provides an overview of the Iranian authorities’ hate speech on homosexuality during these years.
The 27-page briefing includes shocking official statements, describing homosexuals and homosexuality on official platforms as “lower than animals”, “savagery”, “subhuman”, “corrupt”, “diseased”, “western” and “Zionist”. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of a discourse that promotes and justifies hate and violence against LGBT people in the family, society, and in educational, judicial and law enforcement institutions.
For example, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in one of his many remarks about homosexuality has said “If we were to presume that human desires legitimize hamjensbazi [
Mehrdad Bazrpash, a former Member of Parliament and a former deputy to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said in March 2012 in responses to criticisms accusing Iran of homophobia that “it is a great honour for the Islamic Republic to violate the rights of homosexuals.” The report also quotes Iranian parliamentarian Ali Motahari as asking “why the West is moving toward animalism, and promoting affairs such as homosexuality that go against the human nature?”
This briefing asserts that Iranian state officials’ hate speech against LGBT people is a clear violation of international human rights law and standards, specifically the principle of non-discrimination.
Shadi Amin, 6Rang Coordinator says: “An official culture of violence and intolerance against human diversities has been promoted in the past four decades in Iran, without any resistance against such widespread hatred.”
“This brief shows us where the roots of widespread homophobia among Iranians – as seen in mainstream and social media – lie,” Amin says.
In this briefing which has been submitted to relevant international entities, 6Rang urges influential members of the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable for spreading hatred against LGBT people, which is in violation of Iran’s international obligations.
6Rang also urges media, educational institutions, medical professionals and civil society groups in Iran and elsewhere to take up the concerns raised in this report, and mobilize their resources to address stigma, discrimination and stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity and combat attitudes and statements by government officials that promote violence, discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people.
Read the full briefing here.
- To avoid the army, gay Iranians must carry ‘gay’ ID cards (June 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Iran pushes ‘Islamic human rights’ excluding LGBT people (July 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Iran rejects U.N. plea to stop abuse of LGBTI youths (February 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Iranian Government evades the UN questions on LGBTI children (January 2016, 6rang.org)
- Living Dangerously: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Iran (December 2014, 76crimes.com)
- New fund aims to help Iranian LGBT community (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- 11 nations blast Iran’s record on LGBTI rights (November 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Iran’s top judge denies executions for being gay (August 2014, 76crimes.com)