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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

Share your experiences in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF - Let others know what it’s like to be LGBTI in your country! If an experience is meaningful for you, it will probably be meaningful for someone else. On whatever topic, whether good or bad, your story is how the world knows about your country and LGBTI life. By selecting tags that mark the topic your story, others can learn from your experience.
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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF...
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mahdi (user currently living in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF) posted for gay readers on 31/05/2014
Hi I'm Mahdi from Iran and live there , I tryed many ways for leave Iran but unfortunately can't, I think ur know about gay life here gay is crime and gay life is very very hard and difficult too ,my family don't know I'm a gay , so here if u be a gay have a death penalty ,now I don't have any way to take a visa for a freedom country,ans I afraid of my family knowd I'm a gay , please help to leave Iran ,please , and how can take a visa in Iran for a freedom country and gay life be legal there
That's arash4fun@yahoo.com
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mahdi posted for gay readers on 31/05/2014
Hi I'm Mahdi from Iran and live there , I tryed many ways for leave Iran but unfortunately can't, I think ur know about gay life here gay is crime and gay life is very very hard and difficult too ,my family don't know I'm a gay , so here if u be a gay have a death penalty ,now I don't have any way to take a visa for a freedom country,ans I afraid of my family knowd I'm a gay , please help to leave Iran ,please , and how can take a visa in Iran for a freedom country and gay life be legal there
That's arash4fun@yahoo.com
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Googoosh (user currently living in GERMANY) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual readers on 22/02/2014 tagged with human rights +5
Hello ... I'm from Iran .. As we know homosexuality is illegal in Iran and is punished very hard.For the first time in Iran's history the famous Iranian singer "Googoosh"singing in her new album about free love for all and in the background you will see a film about two lesbiens wich loves eachother...It is the first person ever in the iranien history who dares in a video fighting against homophobia.You can watch her new song "Behesht"named paradis on youtube.I really hope that she will get a price for her power and her mission for iranien homosexuals.
Greetings from Berlin
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Raha (user currently living in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex readers on 16/02/2013 tagged with gender identity, human rights, sexual orientation +5
the story i am going to say is related to three years ago on the 3rd Friday of July (23rd July 2010) in Iran.
It was long before that, that my friends and I had conversation on how we can have a National LGBT day in Iran while it is quit dangerous and riskful. we planed to announce a day for this (which is 3rd friday of July and its celebrated 3 times now). we had an small party in a friends apartment full of rainbow stuff that we created ourselves and we published the news and anonymous pictures on the net after.
you can see some of the pictures of it here: http://chrr.biz/spip.php?article10324
although we faced lots of risks after and some of us was blackmailed but it was a hopeful story that i liked to say which can be a hope among all dark story from the country i live in.
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Ramin .SH (user currently living in UNITED KINGDOM) posted for gay readers on 25/05/2012 +20
I am a gay 22,TEHRAN-IRAN.I was in many gay parties.In last party ,police rioted to the house and arrested everybody.We were about 20.On the way to police station,the soldier were teasing us,saying a lot of bad languages and laughing at us. I started speaking for self-defence that one soldier burnt my hands by his cigarette.In jail ,we were tortured by sexual torments. After 1 month ,my father got satisfied to bring me out from jail bcause, he preferred his position instead of me .he is very religious and works for regime.he kicked me out from his house for holding his position. I had to stay at my aunt's husband for a short time. I escape from this unfair goverment to uk.
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(user currently living in DENMARK) posted for lesbian readers on 14/03/2011 tagged with sexual orientation +5
am marryanne,a lesbian from nairobi,kenya, but i have similar case. i have lived in fear of being forced to marry my uncle in attemt to get"cured" my uncle whoz rich and porpular among my family members despite having a wife, he asked to help cure me by having sex with me. due to respect the family members have for him, they agreed, they even said its ok if he wants to marry me..its like am a bag of potatoes thats being disposed of.i was taken to his house, that fateful nite when i lost my virginity to the wrong person.. he raped me every nite and i would cry hoping one day i would get an oppotunity to run away tho i dnt have money..after 2 months i got pregnant and when i confronted him, he abused me, kept hiting me on the stomach till i started bleeding. he called in his doctor and they forced me to abort my baby...i cried on unending days and finally decided to run away frm his home,i first went to the police to report, but the police on duty questioned me and i told my story, he then said. if am wise i should keep quite beause the case would provoke the police to punish me and not the abuser..further more that is family business...its been hard,i have had problems becouse of my sexuality ever since but love and hopes helps me face each day.. currently am in denmark.
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Shervin Paka (user currently living in CANADA) posted for gay lesbian readers on 31/01/2011 tagged with religion +4

For the first time ever, an Iranian Artist has shown his support for the gay and lesbian community.

His message is that love knows no limits/gender/religion. Not only has
he included actual Gays and lesbians (not actors in his video) he also
included the three major religions
Christians, Judaism, and Islam) in his music video. Please help us in
spreading this message in any way you can.

Please follow the link below




We appreciate your support.

With regards,

Sherfa Music

Public relations
Saman Ansari
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said aligudarsy (user currently living in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF) posted for gay readers on 26/01/2011 +9
my name is said aligudarsy, im one refugee , i escape from iran, i am gay and regime of iran wanted to excecuted me, i was one weblog writer in iran and make communication between iranian homosexual and now regime of iran filtered my weblog and want to kill me , i refugee from iran and now iam in netherland, in (olderbroek AZC) please help me!!!
my eamil : s_gudy@yahoo.com
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ali (user currently living in IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF) posted for gay readers on 31/03/2010
plaese translateh this leter
میدونم که اونقدر مارو در تحریم گذاشتند که احتمالا این نامه هیچوقت
ترجمه نمیشه ! اما اگه زمانی این نامه ترجمه بشه میفهمین مشکل خیلی از ما ایرانی ها همینه که الان براتون میگم .!
ما هم نیاز به سکس داریم اما اینطوری نمیشه . یعنی نه فضای سکس داریم نه آموزش لازم رو برای سکس می بینیم .
من یک نوجوان بودم که 17-18 سال سنم بود و نیاز به سکس رو در خودم احساس کردم . حالا زمان زیادی گذشته و من الان 27 سال دارم ولی هنوز در زندگیم در کل این مدت سکس راحت نداشتم. سالهای زیاد دیگه ای خواهد گذشت و من بدون سکس راحت و بدون دردسر . من آرزومه تا راهی پیدا کنم تا به کشوری مثل ایتالیا یااسپانیا برم و اونجا با یک همجنس که دوستش دارم زندگی کنم . اما حیف که در زمانی که من باید با هم سن های خودم یعنی 17-18 ساله ها سکس می کردم نتونستم و نمیدونم آیا میشه یکی از اونهارو برای خودم داشته باشم یا برای همیشه از لذت سکس با اون سن محروم میشم.
خواهش میکنم این نامه رو ترجمه کنین
plaese translateh this leter
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Gregh (user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers in response to this story on 13/03/2010 +5
I am posting this to show support for you and others who are dealing with these issues. I was born in the U.S., but believe I lived in Iran in a former life. I totally applaud your efforts for this purpose. I am saddened by all the prejudice and ridicule, the hate, the isolation, and any aspect that disallowed you and those alike the human right of free spirit wherever you have lived or traveled. I wish you the utmost in your endeavors with this project. It would be a joy to meet an Iranian guy guy of the same sexual orientation as I. That would be a nice dream come true. I believe your dream will come true. Keep up the tremendous work you are putting in, and it will eventually reap its overdue rewards. With much love for your efforts...Great Job!
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Arsham Parsi (user currently living in CANADA) posted for gay readers on 25/01/2010 tagged with human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, illegality of male to male relationships +50
My name is Arsham Parsi and I am the founder and Executive Director of Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. IRQR is an international queer human rights organization based in Canada. We help Iranian gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered refugees all over the world. We help when Iranian queers are threatened with deportation back to Iran. We also assist Iranian queers in obtaining asylum in friendly countries. IRQR helps these refugees through the process and, whenever possible, provides funds for safe houses through donations, because most of queer people are not physically safe in their transit country either.
Today, IRQR is the only active NGO that works on behalf of the Iranian queer (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population around the world. It documents human rights violations, Iranian queer persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation, provides letters of support for Iranian queer asylum seekers and refugees, and supports anti-homophobia/anti-persecution efforts. Its documentation is widely respected for its accuracy and credibility.

Also, I am co-ordinator and cultural ambassador for the Stockholm-based International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network (ILGCN), official member of the Brussels-based International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), the Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad group, and the Berlin-based Advisory Committee of the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation for LGBT Human Rights. In April, IRanian Queer Organization (IRQO), which was our former organization, was awarded Felipa De Souza Human Rights Award in2008 by the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). In June, I was recognized the Toronto Pride Award for Excellence in Human Rights.

I was born on 20 September, 1980, in Shiraz, Iran. After completing my basic education, I wanted to continue studying veterinary medicine at university; however, financial pressures forced me to stop my studies. While living in Shiraz and after coming to terms with my sexual identity, I began to do what I could, in a careful, discrete way, to help other gay people. Part of this work consisted of helping a doctor and doing research for a study on HIV among local gay and bisexual men. My advocacy work earned me the attention of the Iranian authorities, and I was forced to flee Iran on March 5, 2005, due to well-known fear of persecution for being gay. My train took me first to Turkey, where I was able to register as a refugee at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara. I was one of the fortunate few whose case was actually accepted by the Commissioner. Three months after arriving in Turkey my case was accepted, and two months later I was invited to the Canadian Embassy in Ankara. Eight months later, I arrived in Canada.
I began secretly working for the advancement of civil rights for lesbians and gays in 2001. In 2003, I helped organize a clandestine Yahoo chat group for gay Iranians. We called it Voice Celebration. In total there were 50 participants, making contact with each other and exchanging views on how best to achieve civil rights. What was most striking about these exchanges is that while people were emailing contact information, they were typing under false names, and nobody dared to actually speak out in public under their real names. We all feared arrest, torture and even execution if we were discovered. I am still amazed that, less than three years later, I was asked to speak publicly in Geneva, Switzerland, at the second session of United Nations Human Rights Council, and on the fourth anniversary all international media published articles about Iranian queers.

Though now living safely in a safe country, I still consider myself Iranian and never forget that I am in exile due to my sexual orientation. I consider this a big responsibility. I want to return to a democratic, open Iran, and am working actively to make that dream a reality. As I passed the border out of Iran, I promised myself and my country that I would one day return to a free, open country and until that time would work to achieve that goal. I consider the work I am doing today, as part of IRQR, to be an investment in a brighter tomorrow for all Iranians.

In August 2008, I travelled to Turkey to meet with Iranian LGBT refugees and plead their case with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights located there. As a result of that trip, I concluded that a new organization dedicated exclusively to helping sexual dissidents flee persecution in Iran was necessary. The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th century black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and mainly to Canada with the aid of abolitionists who were sympathetic to their cause. In Canada, they had their freedom. In the past few years, one of our major activities was with asylum seekers who must escape Iran due to their sexual orientation, and we will continue this work under the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR). We are working to create a simple structure and focus upon supporting Iranian queers to be safe on their journey and to arrive in a new country to live and be free.

I and my organization are now in contact with about 200 queer Iranian refugees currently in limbo and seeking permanent asylum. Many of them are in Turkey, which shares a lengthy border with Iran and where cultural and political homophobia is rampant, while the rest are scattered throughout Europe, including in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway. Many of them are in the United Kingdom, which has been extremely reluctant to grant permanent asylum to queer Iranian refugees, and where in the last several years two Iranians (Hussein Nasseri and Israfil Shiri) have committed suicide after receiving deportation orders back to certain torture and possible death in Iran. But there are many, many more queer refugees from Iran who haven't yet been in contact with us and who also desperately need help.

One of our goals with the Iranian Queer Organization was to increase the level of awareness about the Iranian queer situation and the horrible persecution that goes on daily in Iran, and to provide a steady stream of information about homosexuality and the transgendered via the Internet into Iran, and I think we've had great success in doing that. But after several years of working with PGLO and IRQO, I had a lot more experience, and it was clear to me we needed a new organization with fresh blood and a structure dedicated solely to helping queer refugees, to help them flee Iran, to support them while they are still in transit countries like Turkey, to assist them in finding their way through the harrowing bureaucratic maze they face in order to gain asylum, and to help them get settled and cope with setting up a new life in gay-friendly countries.

Since being granted asylum in Canada, I have been able to make several international trips to help queer refugees and have built a relationship with other international organizations. I'm so happy I've been able to build a strong relationship with the UNHCR, which is now aware of the Iranian queer situation, and of our organization, and on each of my trips I've been able to secure international refugee protection status for more and more Iranian queer asylum seekers.

I spent many hours listening to Iranian queers’ stories that I am so concerned about their situation and future. My dedication to these refugees is fuelled by my own experience as an exile in Turkey. It was the hardest experience in my life to suddenly find myself in an unexpected situation in a hostile country without money, with no personal safety or security for 13 months. I cannot forget the day in Turkey when I was walking with Amir, another gay refugee who had been tortured and flogged in Iran. We were chased in the street by a homophobic crowd, which beat us hard and tried to kill us. Nobody helped. There were no police who came to our assistance and people were just standing around watching as we were beaten simply for being gay refugees in their country. I'll never forget my refugee life in Turkey, and that's why I've decided to dedicate myself exclusively to making queer refugees' process as short as possible and to help them get to freedom in gay-friendly countries.

Martin Luther King, in one of his historic speeches in 1963, said “I have a dream”. On the 17th of May, the International Day against Homophobia, in Chicago, I, Arsham Parsi, a queer activist who must live in exile said “I have a dream, too.” My dream is that one day the rights of all queers will be recognized and respected. That one day no one will be executed, tortured, arrested, imprisoned, isolated by society or disowned by their family and community for being queer, a day when our sexual orientation will not deprive us of our rights. That is my wish for me for all those who can not speak for themselves. Although they have not chosen me as their voice, I declare this dream of mine, and I will repeat it and I’ll hope to one day achieve this dream of mine.
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