Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pet Shop Boys CD Marks Iran's Gay Hangings; Vigils Planned

There is nearly one month's lead time to mark the tragic public hangings of two gay teenagers in Iran last year, and I am organizing a vigil and speak out on Wednesday, July 19, at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco, from 5:00 - 6:00 pm.

The purpose of the vigil is to demand Iran's leaders respect the human rights of its gay citizens, to remember Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, the two gays hanged and demand an end to the death penalty.

Please join me in publicly standing up on July 19 for gays in Iran and in exile, many of whom face state-sanctioned torture and execution.

If you live the San Francisco Bay Area, make a promise to show up at Harvey Milk Plaza on July 19.

And for people elsewhere around the world, consider organizing a vigil and speak out at your local Iranian embassy or consulate, if one exists where you live. For US gays, actions should be considered at the Iranian mission to the United Nations, 622 Third Avenue, in New York, and at the Pakistani embassy, where Iran maintains an interests desk, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue NW, in DC.

Regardless of whether you live near an Iranian government office, speak outs and actions should can also be held at gay community centers and bars and in gay neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, July 19, what can you do to show solidarity with our Iranian gay and lesbian brothers and sisters?

Send me an email and let me know what you and your local community will be organizing.

I've just learned tonight that the new album from the Pet Shop Boys, "Fundamentalism," includes a song dedicated to Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni. Let's use the song to build strong actions on July 19, okay?

Finally, the email snake below from UK activist and researcher Simond Forbes gives you a sense of where we are right now in getting our global gay act together, especially in the US which does far too little for foreign queers. Thank you, Simond, for motivating me to do something on the first anniversary of the hanging of the gay Iranians.

It's time for gays in US cities to get back in the streets and for our less-fortunate family members abroad.


June 11, 2006

Michael Petrelis organised a demonstration in San Francisco, USA last August against the hangings of Mahmoud and Ayaz (and the death penalty generally) and has been a strong supporter of Iranian LGBT people.

We were just wondering if other events can be organised on the same day in other cities in the world by the PGLO, by COC, by RFSL, by OutRage! by whoever. Of course the PGLO does not have much money and hopefully local groups in various countries will pay the costs of these events (the cost does have to be large though in each place).

As I said they do not have to be big events but they can all be linked together by a public statement of some kind saying what people are doing in different places like London, like San Francisco, like Amsterdam and other cities in the world (Toronto maybe?).

Do you think this is a good idea? An international protest for the anniversary?

Not just about this case - protests about LGBT asylum seekers, protests against other executions and so on. There could be quite a bit of press attention.

I noticed there was supposed to be something happening on the July 19th in the Netherlands according to the PGLO web site. The climax of an asylum campaign.

Farshad Hosseini wrote:-

"I believe the best starting point of the campaign is the 17th of May: the international day against homophobia. Then the 19th of July, the anniversary of the execution of the two gay teenagers in Mashhad, can be thought of as the peak of the campaign, and special events should be organised. We should name this day the international day against homophobia in Iran. Since the campaign starts in mid May and lasts for three months, it will end by late August." wrote:
Dear Simon,
Thank you for your mail, but I did not understand that how we can support and help you?

Sincerely Yours,
Arsham PARSI
Spokes Person &
Secretary of Human Rights Affairs
Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization

----- Original Message -----
From: Simon Forbes
To: ; ; ;
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 7:25 PM
Subject: Fw: Iranian gay hangings anniversary 19th July

Salaam all

Michael Petrelis is asking if the PGLO would support this. Holding events in different places to mark the anniversary of the execution of Mahmoud and Ayaz. My report on the case can come out at the same time (people are more likely to read it at that time).

Events do not have to be very big. Maybe just a small event in each place but involving many cities in the world.

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Thursday, 8 June, 2006 9:26:07 PM

In a message dated 6/8/2006 12:32:53 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

BTW Peter & co are going to launch my report on the case come the anniversary July 19th. He hopes to get a room in the Houses of Parliament but I'm not holding my breath.

Any chance of you organising some event in SF however small for the anniversary?

Do you have a good relationship with Jama by the way? (a key source in my thing)

Be good if it's an international thing. It think the Dutch are doing something.

San Francisco,CA

Thanks for asking if I can get an event organized for the first anniversary of Iran's hangings of the two teenagers.

I've been thinking we need to do something to remind the world of the hangings and I'd be proud to organize a vigil and press conference on July 19 in the Castro, especially if there will be similar remembrances elsewhere around the world.

Having more than a month of lead time would also help me get SF politicians to issue official proclamations and also to get the local community interested.

Maybe if we soon announce a few cities; London, Amsterdam, SF, are planning vigils on July 19, it may motivate gays in other cities to get something organized.

Can we count on an endorsement from the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization and other Iranian gay groups?

By the way, I really hope that gays in NYC and Washington get off their butts and do something on the anniversary. It still irritates me no end that last year when gays around the world were taking to the streets to protest the hangings, gays in NYC and DC did nothing.

I see no reason why gays in those two US cities shouldn't organize actions at the Iranian consulate to the UN in NYC and at the Pakistani embassy in DC, where the Iranian's maintain an interest desk.

I repeat, you can count on me to organize a vigil on July 19 for Iranian gays and against the death penalty.



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