Middle East / North Africa

Iran’s LGBTQ community will celebrate at home, abroad

First Iran Pride Day celebrations in Tehran 2010 (Photo courtesy of Ranginkamaniha)

First Iran Pride Day celebrations in Tehran 2010 (Photo courtesy of Ranginkamaniha)

The Iranian LGBTQ community is preparing to celebrate Pride at home and abroad.

Plans are under way for a prominent Iranian LGBTQ presence at Pride Amsterdam, which will be celebrated from July 29 through Aug. 6.
Pride will also be observed in Iran, though much less ostentatiously — with underground celebrations, as it has been for the past seven years. Eight years ago, a group of Iranian LGBTQ, mostly from inside the country, named themselves the “Rainbow group” [Ranginkamaniha] and chose the first Friday of Amordad (the fourth Friday of July)  as a day for celebrating visibility and the rights of sexual minorities. Their aim is eventually to be able to celebrate that day as LGBTIQ Pride in a free Iran.
Ranginkamaniha issued this statement about the 8th annual Pride celebration in Iran, scheduled for Friday, July 28:

Ranginkamaniha’s (Rainbows) statement for Iran Pride Day 2017

Iran Pride logo

Iran Pride logo

We are believing in the power of happiness, miracle of hope and the strength of colors, even in this world of superficiality and helplessness. Our grief is not dimmed, but we, the rainbows of Iran, are screaming our happiness as a shape of resistance and we keep our euphoria alive as the torch of justice.

Awareness is brightness and by that we will take back our days from the night we all have drowned in, more than ever. Because we believe that humankind is remedial, and human being is beautiful and kind as strong as that can be relied on it. It’s possible to overcome ignorance that dominates the world.

Today and now, we are standing more consistent and more hopeful than ever. Today that the right to love is taken from us, the right of visibility and the right of walking in the streets of our country with the rainbow flag, now that “The Rainbow Friday” reached its eighth year, this belief is more persistent than any other time in our justice seeking movement. The right to our own body, the freedom of presence and being proud of who we are, are not only rights of LGBTIQ and marginalized to be gained but the fundamental and basic rights of every human that its absence is very felt.

For equality and human dignity, with the smile on our lips, and the flame of hope within ourselves, we are going ahead up to the destination… together.

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the JoopeA Foundation, which seeks recognition of LGBTI rights in Iran and the Middle East, has been preparing for an Iranian role in Pride Amsterdam. This is JoopeA’s report on its preparations:

Queer of Persia logo -- a combination of the LGBTI rainbow, Amsterdam's city symbol of three crosses, and the texture of a Persian carpet -- symbolizes the Persian-speaking LGBTI community in the Amsterdam Pride Parade.

Queer of Persia logo — a combination of the LGBTI rainbow, Amsterdam’s city symbol of three crosses, and the texture of a Persian carpet — symbolizes the Persian-speaking LGBTI community in the Amsterdam Pride Parade.

Why Iran in Amsterdam Pride Parade?

The Iranian government has a long and devastating history of violating LGBTI Rights. We (Iranian LGBTIs) have been imprisoned, tortured and in many cases executed. At the same time, social acceptance of LGBTI remains low in Iran in comparison with other target groups of the Iranian regime: many Iranian LGBTIs cannot come out to their families due to religious beliefs and societal norms. And those who do face anger, isolation, rejections and sometimes violence.

This situation in Iran has resulted in many LGBTI fleeing to Western countries. The Netherlands itself has been host to many Iranian LGBTI people, since it has one of the best frameworks for equal rights worldwide.

Scene from the 2015 Pride Amsterdam boat parade (Photo courtesy of TippinTheScales)

Scene from the 2015 Pride Amsterdam boat parade (Photo courtesy of TippinTheScales)

Amsterdam Canal Pride Parade 2017, one of the most famous pride parades in the world, has invited us to show “This is my pride!” — the first Iran-boat in any major Pride Parade worldwide. We (the Iranian LGBTI community) are going to come out of the closet, show ourselves in public and prove to all that we are not ashamed of ourselves and we exist even though social traditions and the government of Iran are against us. We stand for our rights, we are what we are and we are proud.

Equally important, we are joining the Pride Parade 2017 in support of the millions of LGBTI still facing extreme governmental repression and societal prejudice and our “Loose the Noose” campaign specifically will advocate against capital punishment for LGBTI in Iran.

For more information or to make a donation to support the JoopeA effort, visit the JoopeA site.

Thirty-five organizations issued this statement in support of the effort:

We support LGBTIQ Rights for Iran

Ten years ago, the existence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex and Queer people (LGBTIQ) denied by the president of Iran at the time*. While only three years before that two teenagers has been hanged publicly in Mashhad, Iran who have been accused of sodomy**.

LGBTIQ Rights movement for Iran has become more and more active through years. Yet, it lacks public support and visibility.

Hereafter, we, Human Rights activists and organizations, announce our support for LGBTIQ Rights for Iran publicly. We believe LGBTIQ Rights is Human Rights and every human is equal to another in their rights. Every human being should have rights to be who they are and not to afraid of coming out.

Issued by:

JoopeA Foundation: Expanding Human Rights by focusing on LGBTI Rights for Iran and Middle East.

All Out: Bringing people power to the global movement for love and equality

Atelier de Ontdekking: Draw your passion

ASL19: There is always a way

AvishanX: Learn about sex in Persian

Bi’Cause: A mixed association, consensual reflection and information for bisexuals

Chelteke: Persian Speaking support group for LGBTIQ in Toronto

CFPPI: Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran

Club Church: Best divers club of Amsterdam who supports diversity movements

COC Amsterdam: Strives for the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity and for equal rights

COC Nederland: advocating the rights of LGBTIQ around the world

Dharma & Martia: an international network that works on LGBTQI rights in Middle East

Dojensgara: Bisexuality in Persian

Egaypt: Arab LGBTQ Advocacy

GALA Foundation: Promotes the visibility and accessibility of the gay community in Amsterdam

GIN-SSOGIE: The Global Interfaith Network for People of All Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions

Human Rights Campaign: Envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights

ILGA: Worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights

Iran Academia: First Persian online academy for Social Sciences and Humanities

IRQO: Defending human and civil rights of Iranian LGBT in Iran and diaspora

JoopeA News: Everything on Sexual Rights in Persian

Localization Lab: Supporters of translation and localization of Internet freedom tools

LSVD: Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany LSVD

Maanaav: LGBTQ Organization for Iran

MCC: Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches

Opportunity Point: Serves as a safe platform for information sharing and networking within the LGBTI community

OutRight International: Defends the human rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere

Peter Tatchell Foundation: Defends LGBT and other human rights in the UK and globally

Pride Amsterdam Foundation: Organizer of Amsterdam Pride

Rapido Events: Largest divers parties in the Netherlands who supports diversity movement

Radio Ranginkaman: Persian radio for LGBTIQ all over the Middle East

Secret Garden: Empowering LGBTI migrant, refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands

Segooshezarin: Make a better situation for LGBTQIA in Iran

Spectrum: A spectrum of projects connected to gender equality and education

WPML: Makes it easy to build multilingual world

Zamaneh Media: Independent participatory media for Iran

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