Iran Hub

Iran Cracks Down on 'Homosexual' and 'Devil Worshipping' Hairstyles

HairstyleSo-called "homosexual" and "devil worshipping" hairstyles have been banned in Iran, The Guardian reports

Mostafa Govahi, the head of Iran’s barbers’ union, told the semi-official Isna news agency on Monday that fancifully spiked hairstyles were banned and those who styled them risked having their shops closed. [...]

“Haircuts that show symbols or signs of devil worshippers or those adopted by homosexuals are banned,” he said. “I won’t allow such wrongful western styles as long as I’m in this position.” He said the policy was in line with the cultural norms outlined by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Guardian adds Iran's moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has spoken out against these bans, which also includes tattoos, sunbed treatments, and plucked eyebrows for men. No word yet if top-knot hairstyles will soon be added to the ban list. 

Previously, "Activist Trolls Iranian Envoy with Free Ice Cream, Asks 'What's Your Favorite Way to Hang Gays?" [tlrd]

Activist Trolls Iranian Envoy With Free Ice Cream, Asks 'What's A Favorite Way To Hang Gay People?': WATCH

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In the past year the Iranian government has hanged some 1,000 people for a number of different crimes including speaking out against the government and being gay. In mocking celebration of the death toll, David Keyes, executive director of Advancing Human Rights, hosted an impromptu ice cream party in front NYU where Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was giving a speech. Keyes, armed with an armful of balloons and ice cream followed Zarif and his deputy ministers around the block, pushing for answers about the hangings.

“If anyone deserves to be humiliated and punked, it is a regime that hangs gays, murders poets and tortures bloggers,” Keyes said to the New York Observer. “Satire is a profoundly powerful tool against dictators as we saw with North Korea’s hysterical response to The Interview. Tyrants silence and jail satirists because they fear them.”

Check out footage of David Keyes's ice cream party for justice in Iran AFTER THE JUMP... 

Continue reading "Activist Trolls Iranian Envoy With Free Ice Cream, Asks 'What's A Favorite Way To Hang Gay People?': WATCH" »

Tony Perkins Compares Dealing With Gays To Negotiating With Satan And Iran: AUDIO

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The ever elegant president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, compared dealing with gays to negotiating with Iran and Satan reports Right Wing Watch. Perkins issued his lofty statements on his radio program Washington Watch, proclaiming his agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. shouldn’t negotiate with Iran (Netanyahu actually expressed he supports diplomatic talks in principle) quoting Ronald Reagan’s "We don’t negotiate with terrorists." Perkins went on to say Jesus didn’t negotiate with the Devil, and that negotiating with 'cultural totalitarians' should be dealt with in the same way.

Said Perkins:

"Did Jesus negotiate with the Devil? No, he said, 'Away with you Satan.' He goes on later in the scripture to talk about 'What fellowship has light with darkness.' The same can be said of the cultural totalitarians who want to force everyone to embrace and even celebrate their view of morality. You cannot compromise, you cannot appease. Just ask Gov. (Mike) Pence and others who have compromised their values in an effort to appease these folks. It only increases their aggressiveness and their demands."

You can listen to Perkins’ religious-tinted radio segment, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Tony Perkins Compares Dealing With Gays To Negotiating With Satan And Iran: AUDIO" »

HBO's VICE to Look at Struggles Faced by Gays and Transsexuals in Iran Tonight: VIDEOS


Tonight at 11PM on HBO's VICE, the newsmagazine series looks at the struggles faced by gays and transsexuals in Iran.

The following preview clips look at the lashings faced by those breaking Iran's strict laws and VICE correspondent Thomas Morton with Arsham Parsi, founder of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, as they visit World Pride in Canada.

Writes VICE in the promo:

Post-revolution Iran is notorious for its religiosity: when Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979 he enforced strict Islamic custom that made homosexuality punishable by death. Surprisingly, though, the state treats transsexuals differently, allowing sexual reassignment surgery and in some cases even paying for it. It’s become so widespread there, in fact, that Iran is now one of the world capitals for the procedure.

But the fatwa allowing the surgery has a grim drawback: families, therapists, and the state see gender reassignment as a solution to the “illness” of homosexuality—not understanding the risks of forcing the long, life-changing process of a sex change on someone who wasn't born wanting it. Gay Iranians now face the agonizing choice of fleeing their communities or permanently changing who they are.

Watch the clips, AFTER THE JUMP....


Continue reading "HBO's VICE to Look at Struggles Faced by Gays and Transsexuals in Iran Tonight: VIDEOS" »

Jon Stewart on the Republican 'Traitors' Trying to Undermine Obama's Nuclear Deal with Iran: VIDEO


Jon Stewart last night took a look at the letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican senators meant to undermine a potential nuclear deal with the Obama administration. The NY Daily News went so far as to dub them "traitors" on its front page.

But is Congressional subversion vis-a-vis foreign policy a wholly Republican concept? Well, that's not quite the case. What appears to be true, however, is that Congress and the President seem to both prefer working with the Ayatollah than with each other.


Continue reading "Jon Stewart on the Republican 'Traitors' Trying to Undermine Obama's Nuclear Deal with Iran: VIDEO" »

A Rare Glimpse Into Iran's Underground Gay Community

IranWhen then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared in 2007 that there were no gay people in Iran, he was correct in one sense. Because homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment, torture or execution, the idea of someone living their life openly gay in Iran is unheard of. 

But of course Ahmadinejad was wrong in that there are plenty of gay Iranians living in the shadows. It's just that the government chooses to ignore them — at least until it doesn't. 

And while we often hear about LGBT Iranians who've fled the country, what about those who choose to stay or can't afford to leave? 

In a story published Tuesday, Vocativ offers a compelling look at Iran's underground gay community through the eyes of three of its members: a 25-year-old single man who recently had the courage to come out to his parents, and two men in their early 30s who are in a relationship, albeit a very secretive one.  

It's a story of private parties whose hosts must pay off the country's moral police, and of wealthy married men who live parallel lives and cruise parks for young male prostitutes.

From Vocativ

Gays from lower classes and rural areas, where stigmatization is often most severe, rarely have the ability to move out of the house before marriage, let alone leave the country. Even in more affluent communities in cities. there is generally little acceptance of homosexuality, but some middle- and upper-class Iranians have the means to create parallel lives, out of sight of their relatives or friends. These people—men like Saeed—are the lucky ones.

“Ninety-five percent of gays in Iran will never come out,” Saeed says over pasta at one of northern Tehran’s coffee shops, where the atmosphere is relatively permissive. For all his friends who have dared, coming out has been a traumatic experience; parents lock their children inside the house, confiscate their phones and laptops, and force them to seek therapy.

Even "the lucky ones" like Saeed live in constant fear — "We are all so fucking scared," he told Vocativ. The Iranian government keeps extensive intelligence files on its citizens and presumably monitors gay apps like Grindr. But an even bigger threat to gay Iranians can be blackmail by other citizens who find out. 

The pressure is so intense in Iran that many gay men choose to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Being transgender is acceptable in Iran, where more people undergo GRS than in any other country except Thailand. 

Meanwhie, the country's HIV rate has increased nine-fold over the last 10 years, and 70 percent don't know they're infected.    

Still, there are signs of hope. 

A recent government study found that 17 percent of young adults in Iran said they were gay. And the government has begun to at least acknolwedge their existence — even if it's through backward policies like a ban on military service for those who can prove it.  

Hossein Alizadeh, of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told Vocativ: 

“There’s a new generation of people who are more tolerant of these issues. But at the end of the day, it only takes one person to destroy your life.”

And in some cases, "destroy your life" can mean literally.    

Read Vocativ's full story here


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