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In Iran, LGBT activists distribute leaflets against homophobia

Elahe Amani reports on Women's News Network that the “We are everywhere” online campaign by Iranian LGBT for the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) extended to Iran itself.

A report on the Global Network of Iranian Women says that the Iranian “Rainbow Community” distributed leaflets about homophobia 17 May in Tehran and other cities in Iran. The report carries the text of the leaflets which say that 'homophobia is treatable' but people are born homosexual. It said that homosexuals are not pedophiles. It also says that homosexuals 'have no desire to change their gender' - many gay men have been forced to do this in Iran, which funds sex-reassignment surgery.

The report goes on to say that the Iranian diaspora media failed to report this extraordinarily brave action and  "in addressing various aspects of human rights violations and discriminations did not take full advantage of the opportunity to educate the public about homophobia.”

On Friday, The Guardian reported that condoms were being handed out to violent criminals in Iranian jails and encouraging them to systematically rape young activists locked up with them.

Amani says that many feminist activists inside the Iranian Diaspora do have LGBT rights "on their radar".

Both the annual conference of The Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation, as well as that of Iranian Women in Germany, have presented, discussed and debated the conditions of discrimination and human rights violations of the LGBT community inside Iran and among the Iranian Diaspora.

In 2005, a formal statement signed by a number of Iranian bloggers and activists along with organisations said:

“Solving social problem(s) requires conscious and responsible participation of all citizens. The repression, prejudice, discrimination and injustice toward homosexuals is a social problem and the solution requires participation of all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.”

The May 2011 “We Are Everywhere” campaign involved younger Iranians, many born and raised in Iran.

In his video on YouTube activist Ali Abdi stated:

“Hi! My name is Ali! I am recording this video because of May 17th, which is the international day against homophobia and transphobia. Homophobia is about all those practices, discourses, and beliefs that discriminate against homosexuals, those that increase violence and abuse against homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people and transsexuals.”

“I wish living in a world in which those people who do not consider themselves as “heterosexual” are not regarded as unnatural, abnormal, or patient. I wish living in a world that nobody is abused because of her/his sexual orientation or gender performances.”

“We, all standing beside each other, are members of a rainbow community without borders, and there are always opportunities and possibilities of improvisation in gender and sexual expressions.”

See more "We are everywhere" videos.