Sunday, May 20, 2012

IDAHO: Gay Iranians Display
Rainbows, Make Vids, Begin Facebook Page

Let's talk about a handful of incredibly brave young gay Iranians, who participated in International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17 in several very creative ways, despite great risks of being detected by the dreaded secret police and religious fanatics in Iran.

I first found photos and a report on the JoopeA News site, explaining some the public activism:

In Iran, because of anti-homosexuality laws and oppressive conditions, there aren't many observable activities; however, LGBT activists have many actions for this day every year. Last year, many of the LGBT rights activists distributed brochures and ads about this day in Tehran. [...] This year, LGBT rights activists have launched the “Homophilia” campaign on Facebook. Some homosexuals and transsexuals distributed educational brochures in Tehran, carried rainbow flags and banners, and flew colored balloons in order to create new social movements.

A few of their photos:

(Looks like they are in a park or a fairground in these two images.)

 (I'd say they took photos being visible on a public bus.)
After reading the report and appreciating the photos, I followed the link to the activists' Homophilia Facebook page, which is open to folks like me who are not on Facebook. (A big thank you to the gay Iranians for unlocking their page for everyone to see!) There were more photos available at that page including this one:

The caption explained the story of the image: "Ali and his sister's hand with bracelet that their mother made. His mother and sister are Homophiles. We love you!"
Simply amazing, that a young gay Iranian is out to his sister and mother, who created their rainbow bracelets, showing the world very crucial support for this gay youth.
I went to the YouTube channel for this Homophilia campaign from LGBT Iranians, watched all of their videos and each person who made one a message of support. These courageous Iranians take the time to add English subtitles to each video, making me love them for all of the diverse ways they are supporting each other, joining IDAHO every year and making it easy for Westerners to understand them thanks to the translations.

Here's a touching video from a female-to-male transgender Iranian, talking about how his rejection by some friends led to some positive advocacy on his part:

The video below made me cry, I was so overcome with emotion for this heroic gay youth. He speaks about coming out to his mother over a five-year period, says she is sitting next to him and that even though he's not formally told his brother about being gay, the brother knows and still loves him:

At about the 1:01 mark, it sounds like his mother corrects or reminds him about the point he is making. Ah, mothers everywhere, always looking after their kids! ;-)

While these fearless, bold and intrepid young LGBT Iranians put themselves at risk and take big chances to do _anything_ public for IDAHO, professional gay advocates and organizations in America did the bare minimum on May 17 and issued press releases or held meetings in their offices.

The likes of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Global Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Human Rights Watch, Anti Violence Project of New York City, and Truth Wins Out should look to the gay Iranians for inspiration about betting into the streets and being visible for IDAHO.

And to all the LGBT Iranians, their families, and friends who did all these great things for IDAHO this year, I salute you and your love and advocacy. You are true heroes and heroines.

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