Anonymous Iranian writes about his experiences
Today, I was chilled with fear after reading about Muqtada al-Sadr’s Iranian funded Mahdi Army entrapping and executing a large number of gay Iraqis after deceiving them in online chat rooms.
Gay honour killings have long been part of the Iraqi culture, which is widely identified with homophobia. Therefore, most gay Iraqis prefer to stay in the dark and live a quiet, underground life than come out and risk a violet death.
In Iran, the country where I come from, coming out can cost gays their precious lives. Having lived in Iran for over two decades, I have lived the nightmare of being an outsider in my own motherland. Iran is largely a discriminative society where gay men are victimised for their different sexual preference. That is why my partner - who still lives in Iran - and I have kept our sexuality a secret from almost all Iranians who we know.
Identified as gay, many of my friends were arrested and persecuted in solitary confinements till they “agreed” to convert. They would have been executed otherwise. I still remember when my then best friend was arrested and tortured senselessly after he and his partner were arrested in an all-gay party. They were incredibly lucky to have escaped the death penalty.
Living in Iran cost me over 20 years of my life. I finally decided that I had had enough and that it was time for me to move to a country where I did not have to live in constant fear of the government. Many of my gay fellows, however, chose to stay in Iran and fight for their rights.
I believe that Iran’s gay community has benefited loads from digital media, especially the Internet, when it comes to learning about its rights. However, if not used carefully, the moral police can easily identify a gay person based on their online activities.
I once received an anonymous phone call warning me that I had to stop accessing gay related contents immediately or else I would never see the end of it. I still have no idea who made the phone call or if the incident resulted in blacklisting of my name. But for all I know, I am glad I was the one to pick up the phone that day. I cannot even begin to imagine what would have happened, had one of my parents answered the call.
Now, after years of living abroad, I am still terrified of being tracked down. The constant fear of the Iranian regime’s prosecution has left me with major trust issues, barely discussing my sexuality with anybody. Unable to stop thinking about my fellow gay Iranians who I left behind, I wonder if things are ever going to change for them.
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